parasite

noun
par·​a·​site | \ ˈper-ə-ˌsīt How to pronounce parasite (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of parasite

1 : a person who exploits the hospitality of the rich and earns welcome by flattery sought to rid the palace of the parasites of his prosperity
2 : an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism an intestinal parasite of humans a parasite that causes malaria
3 : something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return That city has become a parasite on the country.

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Choose the Right Synonym for parasite

parasite, sycophant, toady, leech, sponge mean a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker. parasite applies to one who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence or is useless to society. a jet-setter with an entourage of parasites sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation. a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker. cultivated leaders of society and became their toady leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage. a leech living off his family and friends sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger. a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout

Examples of parasite in a Sentence

Many diseases are caused by parasites. She's a parasite who only stays with him for the money. These new companies are parasites feeding off the success of those who spent the last decade establishing the industry.
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Recent Examples on the Web The drug is intended to treat malaria, a condition caused by a parasite transmitted through a mosquito bite. Scientific American, "To Fight Coronavirus Outbreak, Doctors Deploy Drugs Targeting HIV, Malaria And Ebola," 13 Feb. 2020 The drug is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a disease that results from infection by a parasite found in cat feces and contaminated food. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, ""Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli charged with fixing price of life-saving drug," 28 Jan. 2020 Malaria is caused by a parasite also transmitted by mosquitoes, and cholera is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated by bacteria. Washington Post, "Red Cross reports new outbreak of dengue fever in Yemen," 26 Nov. 2019 Chemically treated waters like pools are a common point of exposure to Cryptosporidium, a fecal parasite that can cause a gastrointestinal disease called cryptosporidiosis when ingested. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Your Summer Beach Trip Could Put You at Risk of Getting Sick. Here's What You Need to Know," 24 July 2019 Heartworm — a footlong parasite that lives in the bloodstream — is common among Southern dogs. Bob Shaw, Twin Cities, "‘There is such a thing as a bad dog.’ Surge in imported pets brings risks for MN buyers," 23 July 2019 Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a parasite called Cryptosporidium. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "Cryptosporidiosis Is An Illness Spread by Contaminated Pool Water—Here's What You Need to Know," 28 June 2019 Wilder wants to know what the parasite needs to be able to erupt from the liver. oregonlive, "Thousands of mosquitoes to help in OHSU’s fight to eliminate malaria," 25 Jan. 2020 The parasite’s complex life cycle is a huge challenge. Lauran Neergaard, Fortune, "Groundbreaking malaria vaccine test underway in 3 African nations," 17 Jan. 2020

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

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for parasite

Middle French, from Latin parasitus, from Greek parasitos, from para- + sitos grain, food

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Time Traveler for parasite

Time Traveler

The first known use of parasite was in 1539

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Statistics for parasite

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parasite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parasite. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for parasite

parasite

noun
How to pronounce parasite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of parasite

: an animal or plant that lives in or on another animal or plant and gets food or protection from it
disapproving : a person or thing that takes something from someone or something else and does not do anything to earn it or deserve it

parasite

noun
par·​a·​site | \ ˈper-ə-ˌsīt How to pronounce parasite (audio) \

Kids Definition of parasite

1 : a living thing (as a flea, worm, or fungus) that lives in or on another living thing and gets food and sometimes shelter from it and usually causes harm to it
2 : a person who lives at the expense of another

parasite

noun
par·​a·​site | \ ˈpar-ə-ˌsīt How to pronounce parasite (audio) \

Medical Definition of parasite

: an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism

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