[ pe-stif-er-uhs ]
See synonyms for pestiferous on
  1. spreading or bearing disease, especially deadly epidemic disease; pestilential: pestiferous rats.

  2. pernicious; evil: The wicked duke's pestiferous rule blighted the countryside.

  1. Informal. mischievous; troublesome or annoying: Those pestiferous boys won't leave my apple tree alone.

Origin of pestiferous

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Latin pestiferus “pestilential,” equivalent to pesti- (stem of pestis ) + -ferus; see origin at pest, -ferous

Other words from pestiferous

  • pes·tif·er·ous·ly, adverb
  • pes·tif·er·ous·ness, noun

Words Nearby pestiferous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pestiferous in a sentence

  • I shall again breathe the pestiferous air of St. Stephen's Chappel.

  • No vegetables except moss and toadstool-like productions could exist in that airless and pestiferous region.

    In the Wilds of Florida | W.H.G. Kingston
  • The air, too, was close and pestiferous, as if all the foul vapours had been forced up from the inward recesses of the hold.

    Hurricane Hurry | W.H.G. Kingston
  • The carpet bagger when not fighting the pestiferous vermin in the Chickahominy swamps was pilfering.

    The Broken Sword | Dennison Worthington
  • It is a region of stagnant waters, pestiferous exhalations, decrepit men, famished animals.

    The Desert World | Arthur Mangin

British Dictionary definitions for pestiferous


/ (pɛˈstɪfərəs) /

  1. informal troublesome; irritating

  2. breeding, carrying, or spreading infectious disease

  1. corrupting; pernicious

Origin of pestiferous

C16: from Latin pestifer, from pestis contagious disease, pest + ferre to bring

Derived forms of pestiferous

  • pestiferously, adverb
  • pestiferousness, noun

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