• synonyms


[pes-uh l, pes-tl]
See more synonyms for pestle on Thesaurus.com
  1. a tool for pounding or grinding substances in a mortar.
  2. any of various appliances for pounding, stamping, etc.
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verb (used with object), pes·tled, pes·tling.
  1. to pound or grind with or as if with a pestle.
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verb (used without object), pes·tled, pes·tling.
  1. to work with a pestle.
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Origin of pestle

1300–50; Middle English pestel < Middle French < Latin pistillum, derivative of pistus, past participle of pīnsere to pound, crush
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pestle

grate, shatter, pulverize, reduce, scrape, crumble, pummel, wallop, bruise, pulse, belabor, powder, hammer, pelt, tramp, thump, strike, hit, throb, stomp

Examples from the Web for pestle

Contemporary Examples of pestle

Historical Examples of pestle

  • He let the pestle fall from his hand and jumped as if he had been stuck with a pin.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • They did not see his divine informants, the axe, the tray, and the pestle.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • But at this moment the doctor's pestle was heard in the silence, with its continued rhythm.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • It may be, as it is elsewhere, the pestle and mortar system.

    The Curse of Education

    Harold E. Gorst

  • He resolved then to try to make a mortar and pestle of hard wood.

    An American Robinson Crusoe

    Samuel. B. Allison

British Dictionary definitions for pestle


  1. a club-shaped instrument for mixing or grinding substances in a mortar
  2. a tool for pounding or stamping
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  1. to pound (a substance or object) with or as if with a pestle
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Word Origin for pestle

C14: from Old French pestel, from Latin pistillum; related to pinsāre to crush
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 pestle


mid-14c. (as a surname late 13c.), from Old French pestel, from Latin pistillum "pounder, pestle," related to pinsere "to pound," from PIE *pis-to-, suffixed form of root *peis- "to crush" (cf. Sanskrit pinasti "pounds, crushes," pistah "anything ground, meal," Greek ptissein "to winnow," Old Church Slavonic pišo, pichati "to push, thrust, strike," pišenica "wheat," Russian pseno "millet").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pestle in Medicine


(pĕsəl, pĕstəl)
  1. A club-shaped, hand-held tool for grinding or mashing substances in a mortar.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.