pest

A pest is something or someone that bugs you. That annoying mosquito that keeps you up at night is a pest, and so is that younger brother who wants to control the TV remote.

An unwanted, bothersome person is a pest — and so is an unwanted, bothersome bug. In fact, the "destructive or harmful insect" definition came before "annoying person," following the "plague or pestilence" meaning of pest. The Latin root is pestis, "deadly contagious disease." During the Late Middle Ages, when the bubonic plague killed a third of all humans, it was commonly known as "the pest."

Definitions of pest
  1. noun
    a persistently annoying person
    synonyms: blighter, cuss, gadfly, pesterer
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    types:
    nudnick, nudnik
    (Yiddish) someone who is a boring pest
    type of:
    persecutor, tormenter, tormentor
    someone who torments
  2. noun
    any unwanted and destructive insect or other animal that attacks food or crops or livestock etc.
    “he sprayed the garden to get rid of pests
    “many pests have developed resistance to the common pesticides”
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    types:
    vermin
    any of various small animals or insects that are pests; e.g. cockroaches or rats
    type of:
    animal, animate being, beast, brute, creature, fauna
    a living organism characterized by voluntary movement
  3. noun
    any epidemic disease with a high death rate
    synonyms: pestilence, plague
    see moresee less
    type of:
    epidemic disease
    any infectious disease that develops and spreads rapidly to many people
  4. noun
    a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents caused by Yersinia pestis and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea that has bitten an infected animal
    synonyms: pestilence, pestis, plague
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    types:
    show 5 types...
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    bubonic plague, glandular plague, pestis bubonica
    the most common form of the plague in humans; characterized by chills, prostration, delirium and the formation of buboes in the armpits and groin; does not spread from person to person
    plague pneumonia, pneumonic plague, pulmonic plague
    a rapidly progressive and frequently fatal form of the plague that can spread through the air from person to person; characterized by lung involvement with chill, bloody expectoration and high fever
    septicemic plague
    an especially dangerous and generally fatal form of the plague in which infecting organisms invade the bloodstream; does not spread from person to person
    ambulant plague, ambulatory plague, pestis ambulans
    a mild form of bubonic plague
    Black Death, Black Plague
    the epidemic form of bubonic plague experienced during the Middle Ages when it killed nearly half the people of western Europe
    type of:
    epidemic disease
    any infectious disease that develops and spreads rapidly to many people
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