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[pe-stif-er-uh s] /pɛˈstɪf ər əs/
bringing or bearing disease.
pernicious; evil.
Informal. mischievous; troublesome or annoying.
Origin of pestiferous
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin pestiferus plague-bringing, equivalent to pesti- (stem of pestis) pest + -ferus -ferous
Related forms
pestiferously, adverb
pestiferousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pestiferous
Historical Examples
  • The carpet bagger when not fighting the pestiferous vermin in the Chickahominy swamps was pilfering.

    The Broken Sword Dennison Worthington
  • "You are a pestiferous son-in-law," said Warren, as Lyman entered the room.

    Old Ebenezer Opie Read
  • According to the monkish legend, this pestiferous beast was of vast size, and by its deadly breath had destroyed two districts.

    British Goblins Wirt Sikes
  • Some species of this genus are pestiferous weeds all over the world.

  • Let me give you the answer to a few petty and pestiferous lures.

    The Hive Will Levington Comfort
  • The stairs that ascend to the garret are pestiferous and dingy.

    The Spirit of the Ghetto Hutchins Hapgood
  • That young Indian and his sister are constantly at their house, and have imbibed their pestiferous notions from them.

    Villegagnon W.H.G. Kingston
  • He had hitched his wagon to a star and been landed in a pestiferous marsh.

    Martin Eden Jack London
  • Theology seems to have been particularly infected with this pestiferous contagion.

  • There was only this pestiferous overlaying of shame and cowardice to be removed.

British Dictionary definitions for pestiferous


(informal) troublesome; irritating
breeding, carrying, or spreading infectious disease
corrupting; pernicious
Derived Forms
pestiferously, adverb
pestiferousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pestifer, from pestis contagious disease, pest + ferre to bring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pestiferous

mid-15c., "mischievous, pernicious," figurative use of Latin pestiferus "that brings plague or destruction," variant of pestifer "bringing plague, destructive, noxious," from pestis "plague" (see pest) + ferre "carry" (see infer). Related: Pestiferously; pestiferousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pestiferous in Medicine

pestiferous pes·tif·er·ous (pě-stĭf'ər-əs)

  1. Producing or breeding infectious disease.

  2. Infected with or contaminated by an epidemic disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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