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[pe-stif-er-uh s] /pɛˈstɪf ər əs/
bringing or bearing disease.
pernicious; evil.
Informal. mischievous; troublesome or annoying.
Origin of pestiferous
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin pestiferus plague-bringing, equivalent to pesti- (stem of pestis) pest + -ferus -ferous
Related forms
pestiferously, adverb
pestiferousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pestiferous
Historical Examples
  • "You pestiferous gnats insisted on grabbing the ball," he sneered.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • We need all the people we can get, but they are a pestiferous outfit.

  • "You are a pestiferous son-in-law," said Warren, as Lyman entered the room.

    Old Ebenezer

    Opie Read
  • But need one's love for things English include this pestiferous sparrow?

    Wild Life Near Home Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Some species of this genus are pestiferous weeds all over the world.

  • Let me give you the answer to a few petty and pestiferous lures.

    The Hive

    Will Levington Comfort
  • The stairs that ascend to the garret are pestiferous and dingy.

    The Spirit of the Ghetto Hutchins Hapgood
  • Didnt we leave them outside, on the edge of this pestiferous region?

    Jack Ranger's Gun Club Clarence Young
  • He had hitched his wagon to a star and been landed in a pestiferous marsh.

    Martin Eden Jack London
  • The very atmosphere in which ye live is pestiferous because of you.

British Dictionary definitions for pestiferous


(informal) troublesome; irritating
breeding, carrying, or spreading infectious disease
corrupting; pernicious
Derived Forms
pestiferously, adverb
pestiferousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pestifer, from pestis contagious disease, pest + ferre to bring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pestiferous

mid-15c., "mischievous, pernicious," figurative use of Latin pestiferus "that brings plague or destruction," variant of pestifer "bringing plague, destructive, noxious," from pestis "plague" (see pest) + ferre "carry" (see infer). Related: Pestiferously; pestiferousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pestiferous in Medicine

pestiferous pes·tif·er·ous (pě-stĭf'ər-əs)

  1. Producing or breeding infectious disease.

  2. Infected with or contaminated by an epidemic disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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