Definition of infest in English:



  • (of insects or animals) be present (in a place or site) in large numbers, typically so as to cause damage or disease:

    ‘the house is infested with cockroaches’
    ‘shark-infested waters’
    • ‘The hospitals were dirty, smelly, rat infested, and lacked basic requirements.’
    • ‘If lice infest the eyebrows or eyelashes, the eyes may also become inflamed.’
    • ‘It is being administered medication and a mosquito net has been placed around it so that flies do not infest the wound.’
    • ‘She hated bugs and wouldn't be caught dead having to do all that walking in the hot bug infested woods.’
    • ‘I had heard the media talking about rats infesting Glasgow.’
    • ‘Fleas infest the animal (rats, but other rodents as well), and these fleas move freely over to human hosts.’
    • ‘You might also state the level of care the apartment needs while you are gone - i.e. you might not want to come back to find it a total mess with pests infesting it because your friend never cleaned.’
    • ‘Paint flaked off the walls, pests infested the rooms and loose wires hung in plain view.’
    • ‘His McGill ghetto apartment is infested with mice and, try as he might, he can't seem to get rid of them.’
    • ‘I don't think anyone would like the idea of mice or rats in their garden but people feeding birds risk these pests infesting their homes.’
    • ‘He paved over our yard, because he didn't want ants infesting the house.’
    • ‘These bugs may infest your bathroom, and jump out of unexpected corners of the closet, but they adhere to the policy of non-violence.’
    • ‘Many houses were infested with mice, flies, and other unsavoury creatures.’
    • ‘It is crumbling worldwide like a white ant infested edifice along with its credibility.’
    • ‘Our landlord had neglected to provide screens, and I was unable to open the windows, lest flies infest the house.’
    • ‘This pest annually infests citrus in Texas, Mexico, and Central America and threatens California and Florida.’
    • ‘The species was believed to have been wiped out in 1918 when rats infested their home island.’
    • ‘What's with all the hunters infesting these places lately?’
    • ‘It is essential to be aware of the species infesting your fields and to match the treatment timing to those species.’
    • ‘Instead they are rat infested and neglected while rich people don't have to pay university fees.’
    overrun, swarming, teeming, crawling, bristling, alive, ridden, infiltrated, permeated
    plagued, beset
    overrun, spread through, take over, overspread, swarm over, crawl over, run riot over
    invade, penetrate, infiltrate, pervade, permeate, inundate, overwhelm
    beset, pester, plague
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘torment, harass’): from French infester or Latin infestare assail, from infestus hostile. The current sense dates from the mid 16th century.