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’
    [as adjective, in combination] ‘shark-infested waters’
    • ‘What's with all the hunters infesting these places lately?’
    • ‘Instead they are rat infested and neglected while rich people don't have to pay university fees.’
    • ‘Many houses were infested with mice, flies, and other unsavoury creatures.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our landlord had neglected to provide screens, and I was unable to open the windows, lest flies infest the house.’
    • ‘The hospitals were dirty, smelly, rat infested, and lacked basic requirements.’
    • ‘His McGill ghetto apartment is infested with mice and, try as he might, he can't seem to get rid of them.’
    • ‘It is essential to be aware of the species infesting your fields and to match the treatment timing to those species.’
    • ‘He paved over our yard, because he didn't want ants infesting the house.’
    • ‘She hated bugs and wouldn't be caught dead having to do all that walking in the hot bug infested woods.’
    • ‘Fleas infest the animal (rats, but other rodents as well), and these fleas move freely over to human hosts.’
    • ‘It is crumbling worldwide like a white ant infested edifice along with its credibility.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These bugs may infest your bathroom, and jump out of unexpected corners of the closet, but they adhere to the policy of non-violence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had heard the media talking about rats infesting Glasgow.’
    • ‘It is being administered medication and a mosquito net has been placed around it so that flies do not infest the wound.’
    • ‘If lice infest the eyebrows or eyelashes, the eyes may also become inflamed.’
    overrun, spread through, take over, overspread, swarm over, crawl over, run riot over
    invade, penetrate, infiltrate, pervade, permeate, inundate, overwhelm
    beset, pester, plague
    overrun, swarming, teeming, crawling, bristling, alive, ridden, infiltrated, permeated
    plagued, beset
    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.