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.>
parasiticallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
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.
Origin and Etymology of parasite
Medieval French, from Latin parasitus, from Greek parasitos, from para- + sitos grain, food
First Known Use: 1539
Synonym Discussion of parasite
PARASITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of parasite for English Language Learners
: an animal or plant that lives in or on another animal or plant and gets food or protection from it
: a person or thing that takes something from someone or something else and does not do anything to earn it or deserve it
PARASITE Defined for Kids
Definition of parasite for Students
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
Learn More about parasite
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up parasite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).