head louse


: a sucking louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) that lives on the human scalp

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Genetic studies of lice indicate that clothing lice diverged from their human head louse ancestors at least 83,000 years ago and possibly as early as 170,000 years ago, which suggests humans were wearing clothes before major migrations out of Africa. Katie Hunt, CNN, 16 Sep. 2021 Since clothing lice evolved from head louse ancestors once humans adopted clothing, dating the emergence of clothing lice may provide more specific estimates of the origin of clothing use. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 9 Sep. 2010 Unlike the body louse, the head louse isn’t known to spread disease. oregonlive, 28 Nov. 2021 The one thing going for the head louse is its highly specialized claws, evolved to grasp human hair. oregonlive, 28 Nov. 2021 The head louse is not known for its fortitude or athletic prowess. oregonlive, 28 Nov. 2021 Scientifically known as pediculosis capitis, head lice aren't contracted as a result of slacking on your personal hygiene practices. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, 8 Nov. 2019 The medication for head lice, called pediculicide, should be applied according to the instructions, per the CDC. Sarah Bradley, Health.com, 24 Oct. 2019 Transmission of head lice via secondary objects is possible, but unlikely. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, 9 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'head 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

1547, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of head louse was in 1547

Dictionary Entries Near head louse

Cite this Entry

“Head louse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/head%20louse. Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

head louse

: a sucking louse that lives on the human scalp

Medical Definition

head louse

: a sucking louse of the genus Pediculus (P. humanus capitis) that lives on the human scalp

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