Definition of pestle in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpestl/ /ˈpɛstl/ /ˈpesəl/ /ˈpɛsəl/

Translate pestle into Spanish


  • 1A heavy tool with a rounded end, used for crushing and grinding substances such as spices or drugs, typically in a mortar.

    ‘And I used cardamom seeds that I crushed in my pestle and mortar, rather than ready-ground.’
    • ‘With a mortar and pestle, crush the thyme, garlic, and peppercorns and place in a large saucepan.’
    • ‘In indigenous villages, women often make the tortillas the traditional way by grinding corn with a rounded pestle on a flat lava stone called a piedra or metate.’
    • ‘In a mortar and pestle we ground up mint leaves from the garden with brown sugar.’
    • ‘To make the anchovy butter, place the anchovy fillets, the teaspoon of butter and the Parmesan in a mortar and pestle and reduce it to a paste.’
    1. 1.1A mechanical device for grinding, pounding, or stamping something.
      ‘The homogenate was further macerated with quartz sand (at a ratio of quartz sand to denaturing solution of 16.7-33.3 mg ml - 1) in a mortar with a pestle in a draft chamber.’
      • ‘The dolomite powder was milled in a mechanical mortar and pestle for several hours, resulting in an average grain size of about 2 ìm.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • Crush or grind (a substance such as a spice or drug) with a pestle.

    ‘she measured seeds into the mortar and pestled them to powder’
    • ‘When well done, sticky rice is placed in mortar to pestle.’
    • ‘So then I fried the bacon until impossibly crisp, crumbled some on my salad, placed the rest in a mortar and proceeded to pestle the remainder.’
    crush, pound, pulverize, mill, powder, granulate, grate, mince, shred, crumble, pestle, mash, smash, press, fragment, kibble


Middle English from Old French pestel, from Latin pistillum, from pist- ‘pounded’, from the verb pinsere.