Parasites dictionary

Parasites dictionary DEFAULT


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[ par-uh-sahyt ]

/ ˈpær əˌsaɪt /

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an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others: They are greedy politicians, parasites with their snouts in the public trough.

(in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.



We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.

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Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?

Origin of parasite

First recorded in 1530–40; from Latin parasītus, from Greek parásītos one who eats at another's table, originally an adjective: “feeding beside,” equivalent to para- + sît(os) “grain, food” + -os adjective suffix; see para-1

Words nearby parasite

parasexual reproduction, Parashah, Parashurama, parasinoidal, parasinoidal sinus, parasite, parasite drag, parasitemia, parasitic, parasitic cyst, parasiticide Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Words related to parasite

sycophant, stooge, dependent, sucker, deadbeat, sponge, barnacle, groupie, bloodsucker, idler, freeloader, flunky, hanger-on, leech, taker, scrounger, bootlicker

How to use parasite in a sentence

  • Now, new research on the genetic instruction book of this rare plant reveals the lengths to which it has gone to become a specialized parasite.

    A reeking, parasitic plant lost its body and much of its genetic blueprint|Jake Buehler|February 10, 2021|Science News

  • Scientific findings reported this year that still need more proof include potential signs of life on Venus and Earth’s oldest parasites.

    The science stories that defined 2020: coronavirus, diversity movements and more|Science News Staff|December 27, 2020|Science News

  • Ditching energy-expensive traits, or “reductive evolution,” is a common theme in parasites, Meyer noted.

    The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes|Christie Wilcox|December 21, 2020|Quanta Magazine

  • Pandas are known to cover themselves in natural scents, which may ward off parasites or act as a territorial signal.

    Giant pandas may roll in horse poop to feel warm|Jonathan Lambert|December 7, 2020|Science News

  • During Africa’s dry season, when mosquitoes are scarce, malaria parasites have a hard time spreading to new hosts.

    How malaria parasites hide from the human immune system|Erin Garcia de Jesus|October 26, 2020|Science News

  • The film reaches its climax when Temple is felled by giardia, a parasite that infects the small intestine.

    Claremont McKenna Students Try Life on $1 a Day in ‘Living on One’|Robert Bryce|October 3, 2012|DAILY BEAST

  • It was Italian doctors who proved that the parasite was carried by mosquitoes.

    David's Book Club: The Conquest of Malaria|David Frum|July 31, 2012|DAILY BEAST

  • Al Qaeda is a parasite that feeds on social instability and turmoil.

    Fawaz A. Gerges on How the Arab Spring Beat Al Qaeda|Fawaz A. Gerges|May 13, 2012|DAILY BEAST

  • All of this feeds a caricature of Washington as a parasite on the real economy.

    The New Heat Center|Michael Lind|January 19, 2009|DAILY BEAST

  • A single platelet lying upon a red corpuscle may easily be mistaken for a malarial parasite (Plate VI).

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd

  • The spirillum of relapsing fever can be identified by the method for the malarial parasite in fresh blood.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd

  • With the tertian parasite, the segments more frequently form an irregular cluster.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd

  • If a parasite does not make him laugh, he perhaps does not please him, and therefore must be dismissed.

    The 'Characters' of Jean de La Bruyre|Jean de La Bruyre

  • If a parasite cannot exist outside animal tissues, it is an obligatory parasite; if it can, it is a facultative saphrophyte.

    Essays In Pastoral Medicine|Austin Malley

British Dictionary definitions for parasite


an animal or plant that lives in or on another (the host) from which it obtains nourishment. The host does not benefit from the association and is often harmed by it

a person who habitually lives at the expense of others; sponger

(formerly) a sycophant

Derived forms of parasite

parasitic (ˌpærəˈsɪtɪk) orparasitical, adjectiveparasitically, adverb

Word Origin for parasite

C16: via Latin from Greek parasitos one who lives at another's expense, from para-1 + sitos grain

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

Medical definitions for parasite


An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

In conjoined twins, the usually incomplete twin that derives its support from the more nearly normal fetus.

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

Scientific definitions for parasite

An organism that lives on or in a different kind of organism (the host) from which it gets some or all of its nourishment. Parasites are harmful to their hosts, although the damage they do ranges widely from minor inconvenience to debilitating or fatal disease.♦ A parasite that lives or feeds on the outer surface of the host's body, such as a louse, tick, or leech, is called an ectoparasite. Ectoparasites do not usually cause disease themselves although they are frequently a vector of disease, as in the case of ticks, which can transmit the organisms that cause such diseases as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.♦ A parasite that lives inside the body of its host is called an endoparasite. Endoparasites include organisms such as tapeworms, hookworms, and trypanosomes that live within the host's organs or tissues, as well as organisms such as sporozoans that invade the host's cells. See more at host.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for parasite

An organism that lives off or in another organism, obtaining nourishment and protection while offering no benefit in return. Human parasites are often harmful to the body and can cause diseases, such as trichinosis.

notes for parasite

The term parasite is often applied to a person who takes advantage of other people and fails to offer anything in return.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

par·​a·​site|\ ˈper-ə-ˌsītHow to pronounce parasite (audio), ˈpa-rə-\

1: an animal or plant that lives in or on another animal or plant and gets food or protection from itMany diseases are caused by parasites.

2disapproving : a person or thing that takes something from someone or something else and does not do anything to earn it or deserve itShe's a parasite who only stays with him for the money.These new companies are parasites feeding off the success of those who spent the last decade establishing the industry.

1: an organism living in, on, or with another organism in order to obtain nutrients, grow, or multiply often in a state that directly or indirectly harms the host (see hostentry 3 sense 2a)Now the death of its host is certainly a setback to any parasite. To some (like the tapeworm) it is fatal; but smarter ones (like the louse) simply go off in search of a new host.— David JonesThe fungus is an obligateparasite, that is, it must have a living host (tobacco) on which to grow and complete its life cycle.— G. B. LucasThe blood schizogonic cycle of human malaria parasites has thus far been the most exhaustively studied phase of parasite development.— Dominique Mazier et al.Sadly, the vireo is vulnerable to a nest parasite, the brown-headed cowbird … . The cowbird lays its much-larger eggs in the vireo's nest, which hatch first and place such a high food demand on its tiny "parents" that the vireo young go unfed.— Karen D. Fishler

Note: Some restrict the use of parasite to include only multicellular forms (such as protozoans and helminths) while others use it to include bacteria and viruses.

Unlike bacteria or viruses, parasites undergo a metamorphosis during their life cycles that presents the human immune system with a moving target.— Lawrence M. FisherLike all viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an intracellular parasite: the virus particle itself is inert and cannot propagate or do any damage until it enters a host cell.— Jonathan N. Weber and Robin A. WeissSalmonella species are intracellular parasites, and it is thought that these bacteria gain access to their host by penetrating through intestinal epithelial cells.— B. Brett Finlay et al. — see also ectoparasite, endoparasite

2: someone or something that resembles a biological parasite in living off of, being dependent on, or exploiting another while giving little or nothing in returnBut the frequent and familiar companions of the great, are those parasites, who practise the most useful of all arts, the art of flattery …— Edward GibbonTheir lyrics … convey a bilious contempt for the city's wealthy parasites …— Philip MontoroIn their view, the country is afflicted with a class of parasites—"Career politicians," who devote their lives to perpetuating themselves in office by spending the people's money.— Hendrick HertzbergRegulatory agencies have stripped Holyfield of his boxing license now, protecting him from his pride and from the parasites who can still squeeze money out of the faded neon in his name.— Dan Le Batard

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Meaning of parasite in English:


Pronunciation /ˈparəsʌɪt/

See synonyms for parasite

Translate parasite into Spanish


  • 1An organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense.

    Parasites exist in huge variety and include animals, plants, and microorganisms. They may live as ectoparasites on the surface of the host (e.g. arthropods such as ticks, mites, lice, fleas, and many insects infesting plants) or as endoparasites in the gut or tissues (e.g. many kinds of worm), and cause varying degrees of damage or disease to the host

    ‘the parasite attaches itself to the mouths of fishes’

    • ‘an intestinal parasite of cattle’
    • ‘These genes are essentially immune system genes and defend the host organism from parasites.’
    • ‘After all, more than half the species on Earth are parasites, and most organisms are host to a number of them.’
    • ‘Some water molds are parasites on other organisms; they may grow on the scales or eggs of fish, or on amphibians.’
    • ‘Other typically much larger organisms, including parasites such as lice, worms and scabies can also spread from person to person.’
    • ‘There are many species of parasites and disease organisms that infect dogs.’
    • ‘Host radiation allows a parasite to expand its ecological niche by adapting to one or more novel hosts.’
    • ‘Selection has been intense as the parasites are host specific and the drugs are very widely used.’
    • ‘The relationship between host and parasite is not a simple one, and just as the parasite affects the host, so the host affects the parasite.’
    • ‘Another hallmark of parasites is that hosts often evolve defenses against them.’
    • ‘Detrimental effects on hosts can occur at several stages of the parasite's life cycle.’
    • ‘If hosts and parasites are coevolving, this can drive the rapid divergence of amino acid sequences.’
    • ‘All parental hosts of heterospecific brood parasites must pay the cost of rearing non-kin.’
    • ‘The most sophisticated defense system used by hosts against parasites is the immune system.’
    • ‘Good places for reliable encounters are where small fish act as barbers to their hosts, cleaning away parasites from their skin.’
    • ‘Another constraint on ejection is the close resemblance of eggs of hosts and parasites.’
    • ‘An implicit requirement is that parasites and their hosts match up to some degree.’
    • ‘Only the latter could be accepted as evidence of coevolution between the parasite and a particular host.’
    • ‘By contrast, infection will tend to limit nitrate accumulation in the host roots as a result of nitrate transfer from host roots to the parasite.’
    • ‘We consider three rejection scenarios by a host of a nonevicting parasite.’
    • ‘Because host nestlings remain in the nest, the parasite must compete with host nestlings for food.’
  • 2 derogatory A person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

    • ‘he was a parasite who lived off other people’
    • ‘MPs, councillors and all their cronies are nothing more than scroungers, spongers, parasites.’
    • ‘They are literary parasites, the enemies of creativity and imagination.’
    • ‘They are all a pack of bludgers and parasites who pay no taxes but spend ours.’
    • ‘It was in essence a parasite leeching on to Western decadence and lack of will.’
    • ‘They were like parasites, leeching on to him, just wanting him to do this or that, or to torture him.’
    • ‘I've repented my sins to Sepp and he has led me away from the bloodsuckers and parasites that threatened to dissolve my soul.’
    • ‘All workers were oppressed, all middle class people parasites.’
    • ‘And that's what it will come to, for the council workers and other public sector parasites.’
    • ‘Every governmental attempt to ameliorate poverty seems to attract its own breed of parasite and leech.’
    • ‘In the unionists' imagination, the rich are social parasites living lives of leisure on inherited wealth.’
    • ‘These neocon pseudofascists are like a parasite using the host Republican party to attain their ends.’


Mid 16th century via Latin from Greek parasitos ‘(person) eating at another's table’, from para- ‘alongside’ + sitos ‘food’.

Parasite's Perfect Montage

Look up a word, learn it forever.

The adjective parasitic is mainly a scientific term for talking about an organism that lives on a host, taking what it needs to stay alive while often injuring the host.

By their nature, ticks, leeches, and lice are all parasitic; they live off their hosts. You can also use the word parasitic more metaphorically, to describe a person who takes without giving anything in return. A thirty year-old man who lives with his mother, eating her food and not paying rent, could be described as parasitic, since he survives by sponging off another person. Parasitic comes from the Greek word parasitos, "eating at another's table."

Definitions of parasitic

  1. adjective

    relating to or caused by parasites

    parasitic infection”

  2. adjective

    of plants or persons; having the nature or habits of a parasite or leech; living off another

    “a wealthy class parasitic upon the labor of the masses”

    parasitic vines that strangle the trees”

    synonyms:bloodsucking, leechlike, parasitical

    relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed

  3. adjective

    of or pertaining to epenthesis

Dictionary parasites

Look up a word, learn it forever.

A creature that lives off another organism is a parasite. The parasite might not hurt the host, but it doesn't do anything to help it, either.

If you call someone a parasite, you are really hurling an insult! The Ancient Greeks used the word parasitos to describe someone who ate at your table but never invited you back. Some telling synonyms include leech," toady, sponge, and hanger-on." Nice, huh? Some crafty birds, such as the cowbird or cuckoo, are called social parasites, laying their eggs in other birds' nests and expecting those mamas to raise their young for them. Unfortunately, there are some people like that, too.

Definitions of parasite

  1. noun

    an animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); it obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host
    see moresee less

    an animal or plant that nourishes and supports a parasite; it does not benefit and is often harmed by the association

    show 15 types...
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    endoparasite, endozoan, entoparasite, entozoan, entozoon

    any of various parasites that live in the internal organs of animals (especially intestinal worms)

    ectoparasite, ectozoan, ectozoon, epizoan, epizoon

    any external parasitic organism (as fleas)

    parasitic plant

    plant living on another plant and obtaining organic nutriment from it


    any wingless bloodsucking parasitic insect noted for ability to leap

    Parasitaxus ustus, parasite yew

    rare and endangered monoecious parasitic conifer of New Caledonia; parasitic on Falcatifolium taxoides

    Buckleya distichophylla, buckleya

    parasitic shrub of the eastern United States having opposite leaves and insignificant greenish flowers followed by oily dull green olivelike fruits

    Comandra pallida, bastard toadflax

    woody creeping parasite of western North America having numerous thick powdery leaves and panicles of small dull-white flowers

    Pyrularia pubera, buffalo nut, rabbitwood

    shrub of southeastern United States parasitic on roots of hemlocks having sparse spikes of greenish flowers and pulpy drupes

    Loranthaceae, family Loranthaceae, mistletoe family

    in some classification includes Viscaceae: parasitic or hemiparasitic shrublets or shrubs or small trees of tropical and temperate regions; attach to hosts by haustoria

    Loranthus europaeus, mistletoe

    shrub of central and southeastern Europe; partially parasitic on beeches, chestnuts and oaks

    American mistletoe, Arceuthobium pusillum

    small herb with scalelike leaves on reddish-brown stems and berrylike fruits; parasitic on spruce and larch trees

    Christmas tree, Nuytsia floribunda, fire tree, flame tree

    a terrestrial evergreen shrub or small tree of western Australia having brilliant yellow-orange flowers; parasitic on roots of grasses

    Old World mistletoe, Viscum album, mistletoe

    Old World parasitic shrub having branching greenish stems with leathery leaves and waxy white glutinous berries; the traditional mistletoe of Christmas

    false mistletoe, mistletoe

    American plants closely resembling Old World mistletoe

    hemiparasite, semiparasite

    a parasitic plant that contains some chlorophyll and therefore is capable of photosynthesis

    type of:
    being, organism

    a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently

  2. noun

    a follower who hangs around a host (without benefit to the host) in hope of gain or advantage
    synonyms:leech, sponge, sponger
The Visual Architecture of Parasite

If you rock the boat, I'll knock down like all the past ones, cutie - she whispered. The guy was struck like a thunderbolt. He somehow quickly realized that he would not be killed just like that. The rain whispered with a grin: "Brother Wind, you did not know much" Satisfied with the silence and fear of.

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She is liberated and no longer embarrassed. She just sucks. Sucks completely surrendering. Sucks on his master's cock. Wet, she asks him to come in.

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