body louse

noun

: a louse feeding primarily on the body
especially : a sucking louse (Pediculus humanus humanus) feeding on the body and living in the clothing of humans

called also cootie

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Unlike the body louse, the head louse isn’t known to spread disease. oregonlive, 28 Nov. 2021 Life in the Australian bush involved intimate encounters with many species, and of course head and body lice were among them. . . Kate Darnton, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Mar. 2018 Life in the Australian bush involved intimate encounters with many species, and of course head and body lice were among them. . . Kate Darnton, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'body louse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1545, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of body louse was in 1545

Dictionary Entries Near body louse

Cite this Entry

“Body louse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/body%20louse. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

body louse

noun

: a sucking louse that lives in the clothing and feeds on the human body

Medical Definition

body louse

noun

: a louse feeding primarily on the body
especially : a sucking louse of the genus Pediculus (P. humanus humanus synonym P. h. corporis) feeding on the human body and living in clothing

called also cootie

More from Merriam-Webster on body louse

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