in·​qui·​line ˈin-kwə-ˌlīn How to pronounce inquiline (audio)
: an animal that lives habitually in the nest or abode of some other species

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web An animal that takes advantage of another's living space is called an inquiline. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2017

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

Word History


Latin inquilinus tenant, lodger, from in- + colere to cultivate, dwell — more at wheel

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inquiline was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near inquiline

Cite this Entry

“Inquiline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


in·​qui·​line ˈin-kwə-ˌlīn, ˈiŋ-, -lən How to pronounce inquiline (audio)
: an animal (as the house mouse) that lives habitually in the nest or abode (as a human dwelling) of some other species
inquilinism noun

More from Merriam-Webster on inquiline

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