Definition of pestilent in English:



  • 1Destructive to life; deadly.

    ‘pestilent diseases’
    • ‘On the negative side, there is Mitchell, who felt that a pestilent and famine ridden land was peopled by lurking savages.’
    • ‘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.'’
    1. 1.1dated, informal Causing annoyance; troublesome.
      ‘he regarded journalists as a pestilent race’
      • ‘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.’
      annoying, irritating, infuriating, exasperating, maddening, troublesome, bothersome, tiresome, irksome, vexing, vexatious
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    2. 1.2archaic Harmful or dangerous to morals or public order; pernicious.
      ‘the pestilent sect of Luther’
      • ‘The garbage strike isn't merely a glib metaphor for an economically as well as emotionally pestilent environment, however.’
      • ‘Presidents come and Presidents go, but pestilent enemies of America will always be lurking, probing for cracks in our foundation.’
      plague-like, contagious, communicable, epidemic, dangerous, injurious, harmful, destructive, virulent, pernicious
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Late Middle English: from Latin pestilens, pestilent- ‘unhealthy, destructive’, from pestis ‘plague’.