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 Another pathogen nearing eradication is a parasite known as Guinea worm, but again, problems have complicated that campaign, and others as well. Quanta Magazine, "How to Permanently End Diseases," 3 Dec. 2019 The Communist ideology is a parasite that cannot survive for long on its own. Marion Smith, National Review, "After 70 Years, Communist China Is Weaker Than It Appears," 30 Sep. 2019 At the moment, only 15 percent of antibodies in an antivenom are specific to toxins, Casewell says; the rest are directed toward parasites or germs in the involved animal's environment. Harini Barath, Scientific American, "Venomous Menace: Snakebite Treatments Are Failing in India," 7 Jan. 2020 Parasite This surprise Korean hit about a family of grifters is a gripping, ingeniously constructed thriller that ultimately asks: Who are society’s true parasites — the affluent or the underclass? Tom Gliatto, PEOPLE.com, "The 10 Best Movies of the Year, According to PEOPLE’s Critic," 26 Dec. 2019 The black cats are likely better concealed at night, but the variant may also allow cats to warm faster in the sun or even ward off certain parasites. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Why Are Black Leopards So Rare?," 18 Dec. 2019 But, as with any such approach to parasites and pathogens, extensive use has encouraged the evolution of resistance. The Economist, "Animal husbandry Nematode parasites kill a lot of sheep," 21 Nov. 2019 There are specific traps for miniature moles to two-foot-long nutria, a burrowing rodent with orange incisors that carries pathogens and parasites when diving into pools and ponds. Janet Eastman, oregonlive.com, "What to do about cougars in the neighborhood, skunks under the house, bats in the attic," 19 July 2019 The chimps were infected with hepatitis and river blindness, an eye sickness caused by a parasite, as researchers developed vaccines. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "U.S. lab chimps were dumped on Liberia’s Monkey Island and left to starve. He saved them.," 12 Dec. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parasite.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parasite. Accessed 24 January 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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Comments on parasite

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