Definition of pestilent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpestələnt/


1Destructive to life; deadly: pestilent diseases
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  • The rise of fast growing slum quarters in cities, foul smelling, pestilent, disease ridden places where workers lived out short lives while working long hours, swelled with the dispossessed tenant farmers.
  • The Duke's affliction is first reported by the doctor as a ‘very pestilent disease.'
  • On the negative side, there is Mitchell, who felt that a pestilent and famine ridden land was peopled by lurking savages.
1.1 informal, dated Causing annoyance; troublesome: he regarded journalists as a pestilent race
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  • Grimble, once he's given the blessed footwear by his pestilent fairy godmother, has a smooth ride, which means no drama.
  • It's funny how life can oftentimes be like a pestilent 15-year-old.
1.2 archaic Harmful or dangerous to morals or public order; pernicious: the pestilent sect of Luther
More example sentences
  • Presidents come and Presidents go, but pestilent enemies of America will always be lurking, probing for cracks in our foundation.
  • The garbage strike isn't merely a glib metaphor for an economically as well as emotionally pestilent environment, however.



Example sentences
  • In the same way he lies pestilently to the people of our great country. These children deserve our support.
  • And I think the same situation would be involved if the critic were concerned to point out that Pindar was scandalously immoral, pestilently cynical, or low and beastly in his views of life.


Late Middle English: from Latin pestilens, pestilent- 'unhealthy, destructive', from pestis 'plague'.

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Syllabification: pes·ti·lent

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