louse

noun
\ ˈlau̇s How to pronounce louse (audio) \

Definition of louse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 plural lice\ ˈlīs How to pronounce lice (audio) \
a : any of various small wingless usually flattened insects (orders Anoplura and Mallophaga) parasitic (see parasite sense 2) on warm-blooded animals
b : a small usually sluggish arthropod (such as a biting louse) that lives on other animals or on plants and sucks their blood or juices
c : any of several small arthropods (such as a book louse) that are not parasitic
2 plural louses\ ˈlau̇-​səz How to pronounce louses (audio) \ : a contemptible person : heel what a beast, what a cad, what a louse he had been— Walter Karig

louse

verb
\ ˈlau̇s How to pronounce louse (audio) , ˈlau̇z How to pronounce louse (audio) \
loused; lousing

Definition of louse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to remove lice from

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Synonyms for louse

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of louse in a Sentence

Noun a problem with head lice Her ex-husband is a real louse.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Check in on your sister who is married to the stubborn louse. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Younger sister feels shunned by siblings for more than 20 years," 27 May 2020 Check in on your sister who is married to the stubborn louse. cleveland, "Dear Annie: A longstanding grudge causes friction between sisters," 26 May 2020 Itching can persist even after the infestation has been treated and the lice are gone. Jolie Kerr, New York Times, "How to Tame Common Childhood Plagues," 19 Apr. 2020 Dead or dying lice, again, can be removed with a fine-toothed comb of your fingernails. Sarah Bradley, Health.com, "What Does Lice Look Like? These 3 Photos Show Head, Pubic, and Body Lice," 24 Oct. 2019 But bear in mind, too, the poem’s other point: A louse may be burrowing in anyone’s coiffure, even our own. New York Times, "Should I Tell My Aunt That Her Costume Is Racist?," 21 Jan. 2020 Even dinosaurs had lice, fossils entombed in amber reveal As most parents of small children know, lice are survival artists, skilled at avoiding detection and spreading to new hosts. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Dinosaur lice, mysterious Egyptian head cones, and the importance of grandmother whales," 13 Dec. 2019 The bugs may not technically be lice, as their taxonomical relationship to the louse order Phthiraptera is unknown. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Lice-Filled Dinosaur Feathers Found Trapped in 100-Million-Year-Old Amber," 10 Dec. 2019 But the insects in question, Mesophthirus engeli, appear as a primitive species very much resembling modern lice. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Lice-Filled Dinosaur Feathers Found Trapped in 100-Million-Year-Old Amber," 10 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Will Ferrell figure out a way to get along, their fathers (Mel Gibson, John Lithgow) show up for the holidays to louse everything up in this comedy sequel. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee fall movie guide: 48 movies, 4 festivals, 11 weeks," 31 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'louse.' 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 louse

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for louse

Noun and Verb

Middle English lous, from Old English lūs; akin to Old High German lūs louse, Welsh llau lice

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Time Traveler for louse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for louse

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Louse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/louse. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for louse

louse

noun
How to pronounce louse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of louse

: a type of small insect that lives on the bodies of people or animals
informal : a bad or cruel person

louse

noun
\ ˈlau̇s How to pronounce louse (audio) \
plural lice\ ˈlīs \

Kids Definition of louse

1 : a small, wingless, and usually flat insect that lives on the bodies of warm-blooded animals
2 : an insect or related arthropod that resembles a body louse and feeds on plant juices or decaying matter

louse

noun
\ ˈlau̇s How to pronounce louse (audio) \
plural lice\ ˈlīs How to pronounce lice (audio) \

Medical Definition of louse

: any of the small wingless usually flattened insects that are parasitic on warm-blooded animals and constitute the orders Anoplura and Mallophaga

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More from Merriam-Webster on louse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for louse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with louse

Spanish Central: Translation of louse

Nglish: Translation of louse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of louse for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about louse

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