Definition of pester in English:



  • Trouble or annoy (someone) with frequent or persistent requests or interruptions.

    ‘she constantly pestered him with telephone calls’
    • ‘He later bombarded the 43-year-old woman with calls on her mobile phone, pestering her for a date.’
    • ‘He irritates me because each time I pass, he blocks my way and pesters me to give money, and wastes my time.’
    • ‘She might never have left home had her husband-to-be Patrick not pestered her with repeated proposals.’
    • ‘If he keeps pestering you, talk to a school guidance counselor or other adult you trust to intervene.’
    • ‘Most of the popular girls from my school constantly pestered me for a picture of him, but I never gave them anything.’
    • ‘She pestered her parents for years to let her go to Germany, with which she had developed a fascination.’
    • ‘I don't want a situation that we had in the past where people were pestering players for tickets ahead of big games.’
    • ‘Hundreds of youngsters got their first taste of a day at the races in the Rails Enclosure, with many pestering their parents to place bets for them.’
    • ‘Hayley apologises to Lisa for sticking her nose in the other day and pestering her about her husband, Alan.’
    • ‘He pestered his mother for a piano, and soon was trying to replicate the sound on a tiny Casio keyboard.’
    • ‘In 1975 she pestered her parents to go to see The Osmonds perform live at Earls Court in London.’
    • ‘No waiters pestered us to buy more drinks or ask us to vacate the table, even though there were probably hungry diners waiting upstairs.’
    • ‘The idea of running around pestering my friends for votes is quite distasteful.’
    • ‘While on the hunt for a new job, she becomes fascinated with the middle-aged manager of a middle-aged clothing store and pesters him into hiring her.’
    • ‘Poor Sarah Jane must have been wearing something that they liked as she was pestered from the moment we arrived.’
    • ‘Emily split up from Rushton but he pestered her with constant text messages and phone calls.’
    • ‘If your children are pestering you for super-trendy labelled gear, this is the place to visit.’
    • ‘Unscrupulous companies will instead pester you with annoying phone calls or unannounced visits.’
    • ‘My wife had been pestering me to take her shopping for the boys' presents, and I had been putting her off.’
    • ‘The more she pesters him with emotional calls, the more irritated he becomes.’
    badger, hound, annoy, bother, harass, trouble, plague, irritate, irk, chivvy, keep after
    persecute, torment, molest, bedevil, besiege, harry, worry, beleaguer, nag, dun, importune
    hassle, bug, aggravate, give someone a hard time, get on someone's nerves, drive round the bend, drive up the wall, get in someone's hair, get up someone's nose, get at, get on someone's back
    ride, devil
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (in the senses overcrowd (a place) and impede (a person)): from French empestrer encumber influenced by pest. The current sense is an extension of an earlier use, infest referring to vermin.