pester

[pes-ter]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to bother persistently with petty annoyances; trouble: Don't pester me with your trivial problems.
  2. Obsolete. to overcrowd.

Origin of pester

1530–40; perhaps aphetic variant of empester, impester to tangle, encumber (though pester is found earlier than these 2 words) < Middle French empestrer to hobble, entangle < Vulgar Latin *impāstōriāre to hobble, equivalent to im- im-1 + pāstōri(a) a hobble, noun use of Latin pāstōrius of a herdsman or shepherd + -āre infinitive suffix (see pastor); aphetic form apparently reinforced by pest (cf. -er6)
Related formspes·ter·er, nounpes·ter·ing·ly, adverbpes·ter·some, adjectiveun·pes·tered, adjective

Synonyms for pester

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Antonyms for pester

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for pester

Contemporary Examples of pester

  • And resist the urge to probe or pester for reassuring answers.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Zodiac Beast: May 1-7

    Starsky + Cox

    April 30, 2011

Historical Examples of pester

  • Williams has been complainin' to the selectmen and they're beginnin' to pester me.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • So long as they think she's got a cent comin' to her they'll pester her in every way they can, I believe.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • You must not think, because I pester you not with questions, I have no curiosity.

  • I blurted out "What is he that he should pester his betters with his attentions?"

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

  • Do you want me to pester every office in the government with new inquiries?

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford


British Dictionary definitions for pester

pester

verb
  1. (tr) to annoy or nag continually
Derived Formspesterer, nounpesteringly, adverb

Word Origin for pester

C16: from Old French empestrer to hobble (a horse), from Vulgar Latin impāstōriāre (unattested) to use a hobble, from pāstōria (unattested) a hobble, from Latin pāstōrius relating to a herdsman, from pastor herdsman
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

Word Origin and History for pester
v.

1520s, "to clog, entangle, encumber," probably a shortening of Middle French empestrer "place in an embarrassing situation" (Modern French empêtrer, Walloon epasturer), from Vulgar Latin *impastoriare "to hobble" (an animal), from Latin im- "in" + Medieval Latin pastoria (chorda) "(rope) to hobble an animal," from Latin pastoria, fem. of pastorius "of a herdsman," from pastor "herdsman" (see pastor (n.)). Sense of "annoy, trouble" (1560s) is from influence of pest. Related: Pestered; pestering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper