• synonyms


[pes-tl-uh nt]
See more synonyms for pestilent on Thesaurus.com
  1. producing or tending to produce infectious or contagious, often epidemic, disease; pestilential.
  2. destructive to life; deadly; poisonous.
  3. injurious to peace, morals, etc.; pernicious.
  4. troublesome, annoying, or mischievous.
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Origin of pestilent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin pestilent- (stem of pestilēns) unhealthy, noxious, alteration of pestilentus, equivalent to pesti- (stem of pestis) pest + -lentus -lent
Related formspes·ti·lent·ly, adverban·ti·pes·ti·lent, adjectivean·ti·pes·ti·lent·ly, adverbnon·pes·ti·lent, adjectivenon·pes·ti·lent·ly, adverbun·pes·ti·lent, adjectiveun·pes·ti·lent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pestilent

Historical Examples

  • She would have been out holiday-making (as I settled it) but for the pestilent rain.

    The Uncommercial Traveller

    Charles Dickens

  • The pestilent coxcomb has his uses, and his uses, like adversity's, are sweet.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • But how was this pestilent young cub of an Englishman to be got rid of?

    The Cruise of the Thetis

    Harry Collingwood

  • Is it pestilent Machiuilian pollicie that thou hast studied?

  • Then he was liable to be seized and put to death as a pestilent heretic.

British Dictionary definitions for pestilent


  1. annoying; irritating
  2. highly destructive morally or physically; pernicious
  3. infected with or likely to cause epidemic or infectious disease
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Derived Formspestilently, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Latin pestilens unwholesome, from pestis plague
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 pestilent


late 14c., from Latin pestilentem (nominative pestilens), from pestilis "of the nature of a plague," from pestis "deadly contagious disease" (see pest (n.)). Related: Pestilently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper