Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Producing or breeding infectious disease.
  • adj. Infected with or contaminated by an epidemic disease.
  • adj. Morally evil or deadly; pernicious.
  • adj. Bothersome; annoying.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. containing organisms that cause contagious diseases
  • adj. annoying, vexatious

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pest-bearing; pestilential; noxious to health; malignant; infectious; contagious.
  • adj. Noxious to peace, to morals, or to society; vicious; hurtful; destructive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Plague-bearing; pestilential; infectious; contagious: as, pestiferous particles.
  • Noxious in any manner; mischievous; malignant; annoying.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. contaminated with infecting organisms
  • adj. causing irritation or annoyance
  • adj. tending to corrupt or pervert
  • adj. likely to spread and cause an epidemic disease

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin pestiferus, variant of pestifer : pestis, pestilence; see pest + -fer, -fer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Mid 15th century, in sense “mischievous, pernicious”, from Latin pestiferus ("bearing plague"), from pestifer, from pestis ("plague") + ferre ("carry") (see infer). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Vermont's record on the slavery issue was so strong that Georgia's legislature resolved that a ditch be dug around the "pestiferous" state and it be floated out to sea.

    The Independent Republic of Vermont

  • He had hitched his wagon to a star and been landed in a pestiferous marsh.

    Chapter 41

  • In his call for a crusade, Innocent III denounced the Cathars as “pestiferous men.”

    Bloodlust

  • To me this sounds like the voice of privilege complaining about how annoying it is to deal with those pestiferous people who keep pointing out how unfair the privilege is.

    Chip Berlet: Abstaining from Bad Sects

  • “Let us say a bond of, oh, only a pound, because she caused some trouble to that pestiferous printer Franklin.”

    The Secret of the Sealed Room

  • Even pestiferous snow geese should be hunted with respect, not shot like rats or starlings.

    Bourjaily on Goose Hunting with a Rake

  • All decent and patriotic Americans can now only hope that this will reinforce the Post's image as the champion of the Watergate exposure and an example of the integrity of America's fee (oops!) press, and, moreover, that it finally stills those pestiferous agitators, single-payer advocates, peaceniks, and other such rabble-rousers.

    The Washington Post: Paragon of the Fee Press

  • The place was of the most ricketty description, and situated in the midst of filthy and pestiferous nuisances.

    James Catnach, Ballad-monger, Part 1

  • But as annoying and pestiferous as some insects are, they are also very essential to us, as without them large portions of the ecology would collapse.

    2007 April « Hyperpat’s HyperDay

  • This in turn leads to unhealthy scruples about dropping bombs on said wogs and their pestiferous children.

    Matthew Yglesias » A Failure to Communicate

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Comments

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  • *hork*

    July 24, 2008

  • For some reason, whenever I hear this word I mentally pair it with 'varmint.'

    July 24, 2008