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

  • n. A club-shaped, hand-held tool for grinding or mashing substances in a mortar.
  • n. A large bar moved vertically to stamp or pound, as in a press or mill.
  • transitive v. To pound, grind, or mash with or as if with a pestle.
  • intransitive v. To use a pestle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A club-shaped, round-headed stick used in a mortar to pound, crush, rub or grind things.
  • v. To pound, crush, rub or grind (things), as in a mortar with a pestle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An implement for pounding and breaking or braying substances in a mortar.
  • n. A constable's or bailiff's staff; -- so called from its shape.
  • n. The leg and leg bone of an animal, especially of a pig.
  • v. To pound, pulverize, bray, or mix with a pestle, or as with a pestle; to use a pestle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To break or pound with a pestle; pulverize, grind, or rub with a pestle, as in a mortar.
  • To use a pestle; pound.
  • n. An instrument for pounding and breaking a substance in a mortar.
  • n. In machinery:
  • n. The vertically moving bar of a stamp-mill.
  • n. One of the pounders or mallets used in a fulling-mill.
  • n. The leg of certain animals, especially of the pig.
  • n. A short staff carried by a constable or bailiff. Compare mace.

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

  • n. machine consisting of a heavy bar that moves vertically for pounding or crushing ores
  • v. grind, mash or pulverize in a mortar
  • n. a club-shaped hand tool for grinding and mixing substances in a mortar
  • n. a heavy tool of stone or iron (usually with a flat base and a handle) that is used to grind and mix material (as grain or drugs or pigments) against a slab of stone


Middle English pestel, from Old French, from Latin pistillum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Via Old French pestel, from Latin pistillum, from pīnsō ("pound, beat"). Cognate to pesto. (Wiktionary)


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