parasite

noun
par·​a·​site | \ ˈper-ə-ˌsīt , 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

One was Edwin Pierre-Louis, 31, a Haitian immigrant and University of Georgia grad student studying parasites. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Put Down the Kombucha and Pick Up a Crossbow: Hipsters Are the New Hunters," 9 Jan. 2019 The larva then feeds on the spider’s blood to survive—your classic parasite scenario. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "A Brazilian Wasp Exhibits Mind Control Over Unsuspecting Spiders," 30 Nov. 2018 Infectious keratitis is an inflammation of your cornea (that bit of your eye that your contact lens covers) that happens due to bacteria, fungi, or parasites, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It Terrible to Wear the Same Contact Lenses for a Long, Long Time?," 19 Oct. 2018 The scientific name of the parasite in question is Trypanosoma cruzi, which can be found in the feces of the Triatomine bug (more commonly called the kissing bug). Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Disease Spread by Kissing Bug Could Become More Common in the U.S.," 21 Aug. 2018 The scientists found evidence in cell cultures and mouse models that this trait impedes growth of malaria parasites in red blood cells. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "New and common malaria resistance trait identified in Scripps Research-led study," 22 Mar. 2018 These small brown birds can often be seen perched on top or hanging off the animals, picking through their hair in search of tasty parasites like ticks. National Geographic, "Birds Sleep in Giraffe Armpits, New Photos Reveal," 27 Feb. 2018 If Trump’s anti-intellectual and race-baiting brand of politics is a parasite on the American right, then it’s possible the Republican Party can be cleaned up after him. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "A historian explains how mainstream conservatives made Trump," 13 Aug. 2018 What types of bacteria or parasites commonly affect Americans? Madeline Farber, Fox News, "McDonald's, Chipotle and other chains with foodborne illness outbreaks: How to stay safe," 3 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for parasite

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parasite

The first known use of parasite was in 1539

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More Definitions for parasite

parasite

noun

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of parasite

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

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