\ ˈflē How to pronounce flea (audio) \

Definition of flea

: any of an order (Siphonaptera) of small wingless bloodsucking insects that have a hard laterally compressed body and legs adapted to leaping and that feed on warm-blooded animals
flea in one's ear
: rebuke sent him away with a flea in his ear

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Illustration of flea

Examples of flea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Keep your dog current on vaccines and flea and tick protection. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 According to the report, 642,602 cases of 16 diseases passed on to humans through the bites of mosquitos, ticks, or fleas were reported to the CDC between 2004 and 2016. Korin Miller, SELF, "The 11 Most Effective Tick and Mosquito Protection Tips You Need This Summer," 4 May 2018 Diseases caused by ticks, fleas and mosquitos can be serious or fatal. Sean Rossman, USA TODAY, "Tick, mosquito, flea illnesses have tripled and the U.S. isn't fully prepared, CDC says," 2 May 2018 Diseases caused by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the United States within the last 15 years, according to an alarming new report. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Mosquito-and Tick-Borne Diseases Are Rising in the U.S.," 2 May 2018 Petco has a wide variety of flea and tick control products to keep pets safe. chicagotribune.com, "Swing into a spring shopping spree," 1 Apr. 2018 In more modern plagues, researchers have placed the blame on the rats—and more specifically on the fleas that drink their blood. Mika Mckinnon, Smithsonian, "Are Rats Innocent of Spreading the Black Plague?," 17 Jan. 2018 Rats often serve as hosts for typhus-carrying fleas. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Politics Is a Dirty Business—Starting with the Rats at Los Angeles City Hall," 10 Feb. 2019 Data from CDC’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System show that 96,075 diseases caused by flea, tick, and mosquito bites were reported in 2016, compared to just 27,388 diseases in 2004. Grace Donnelly, Fortune, "Tick and Mosquito-Borne Diseases Are on the Rise in the U.S., CDC Says," 2 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of flea

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flea

Middle English fle, from Old English flēa; akin to Old High German flōh flea

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Dictionary Entries near flea



fl dr




flea beetle

Statistics for flea

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for flea

The first known use of flea was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for flea



English Language Learners Definition of flea

: a very small insect that lives on animals and that has strong legs used for jumping


\ ˈflē How to pronounce flea (audio) \

Kids Definition of flea

: a small bloodsucking insect that has no wings and a hard body


\ ˈflē How to pronounce flea (audio) \

Medical Definition of flea

: any of the order Siphonaptera comprising wingless bloodsucking insects that have a hard laterally compressed body and legs adapted to leaping and that feed on warm-blooded animals — see cat flea, chigoe sense 1, dog flea, rat flea, sand flea, sticktight flea

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More from Merriam-Webster on flea

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flea

Spanish Central: Translation of flea

Nglish: Translation of flea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flea for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flea

Comments on flea

What made you want to look up flea? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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