One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Destructive to life; deadly.‘pestilent diseases’
- ‘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.’
- 1.1informal, dated Causing annoyance; troublesome.‘he regarded journalists as a pestilent race’
annoying, irritating, infuriating, exasperating, maddening, troublesome, bothersome, tiresome, irksome, vexing, vexatiousView synonyms
- ‘It's funny how life can oftentimes be like a pestilent 15-year-old.’
- ‘Grimble, once he's given the blessed footwear by his pestilent fairy godmother, has a smooth ride, which means no drama.’
- 1.2archaic Harmful or dangerous to morals or public order; pernicious.‘the pestilent sect of Luther’
plague-like, contagious, communicable, epidemic, dangerous, injurious, harmful, destructive, virulent, perniciousView synonyms
- ‘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.’
Late Middle English: from Latin pestilens, pestilent- ‘unhealthy, destructive’, from pestis ‘plague’.
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