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

Examples of body louse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Modern head lice and body lice diverged some 83,000 to 170,000 years ago, based on differences in their DNA. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 2 Jan. 2024 Without that bacterium, the body louse is doomed [Nature]. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2010 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'body louse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 21 Jun. 2024.

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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