\ˈflē \

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

Illustration of flea

Illustration of flea

Examples of flea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague, spreads through the bites of infected fleas. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "4,000-year-old genomes point to origins of bubonic plague," 12 June 2018 Part of that was launching the successful Recycled Wedding Boutique, a chic flea that invites brides and grooms to set up a booth and sell items from their ceremonies. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com, "Hear new Cleveland music in May 2018 Spotify playlist: Kipp Stone, Chardon Polka Band, more," 1 May 2018 Tiny creatures pop in and out of the narrative like performers in a flea circus. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "‘Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes’ Review: Earth’s Many Eyes," 25 May 2018 The mix of high fashion with street style and flea-market finds, is distinctly Patricia. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Talking to the Women Behind the Most Popular Sex and the City Fashion Instagram Account," 30 May 2018 Diseases spread by pests like mosquitoes and fleas remain global health problems. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "How a Drug For Pets May Help Prevent Zika and Malaria," 2 July 2018 Federal experts also warned that the number of people in this country infected with diseases transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas has more than tripled in recent years. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Lyme Disease Tick Numbers Now At Record Highs," 25 June 2018 Diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas more than tripled in the U.S. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., chicagotribune.com, "Young Mississippi girl's sudden paralysis caused by a tick on her scalp," 12 June 2018 The number of people contracting illnesses from ticks as well as mosquitoes and fleas as been on the rise for years, said Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for Illinois Department of Public Health said. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Influx of ticks this spring prompts alerts from Kane County Health Department," 9 June 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

11 Oct 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of flea

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


\ˈflē \

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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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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