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[pes-tl-en-shuh l] /ˌpɛs tlˈɛn ʃəl/
producing or tending to produce pestilence.
pertaining to or of the nature of pestilence, especially bubonic plague.
pernicious; harmful.
annoyingly troublesome.
Origin of pestilential
First recorded in 1350-1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word pestilentiālis. See pestilent, -ial
Related forms
pestilentially, adverb
pestilentialness, noun
antipestilential, adjective
nonpestilential, adjective
unpestilential, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pestilential
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Into its profound and pestilential depths, indeed, she can see.

  • The chief characteristic of Fuzby was a pestilential spirit of gossip.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • Yet pestilential as is the clime, the scenery is very beautiful.

    Peter the Whaler W.H.G. Kingston
  • But they were filled by the pestilential dead, and I passed by without exploring them.

    The Scarlet Plague Jack London
  • We got away from the pestilential Swamp and that poisonous ground.

  • Often they are underground, damp, and pestilential; always filthy.

    The Criminal Havelock Ellis
  • Its characters are not from foreign courts or the pestilential dens of foreign cities.

    Dust Julian Hawthorne
  • Can moral defilement be any the less filthy and pestilential in man than in woman?

    Gospel Doctrine Joseph F. Smith
British Dictionary definitions for pestilential


dangerous or troublesome; harmful or annoying
of, causing, or resembling pestilence
Derived Forms
pestilentially, adverb
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 pestilential

late 14c., from Medieval Latin pestilentialis, from Latin pestilentia "plague" (see pestilence). Related: Pestilentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pestilential in Medicine

pestilential pes·ti·len·tial (pěs'tə-lěn'shəl)
Of, relating to, or tending to produce a pestilence.

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