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 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 In previous studies, researchers endowed mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite Plasmodium with an antibody that kept the pathogen out of their saliva. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Genetically engineered mosquitoes resist spreading any form of dengue," 16 Jan. 2020 Welsh marine biologists trained shore crabs to navigate mazes and sampled the parasites of shore crabs at Mumbles Pier. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 6 Jan. 2020 The vaccine would then attack the parasites in the mosquitoes’ midguts, making them unable to infect anyone else. BostonGlobe.com, "NEW YORK — Dr. John B. Robbins, a pioneer in vaccinology and one of the inventors of the first effective defense against a form of meningitis that once killed more than a thousand infants a day worldwide, died Nov. 27 at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.," 19 Dec. 2019 The parasite doesn’t pose a risk to humans and only affects certain species of fish. USA TODAY, "Purple potatoes, suffragette mountain, pig your pardon?: News from around our 50 states," 17 Dec. 2019 The parasites often spread among cows - their preferred hosts - through certain types of face flies that eat eye secretions, such as tears, the Oct. 22 paper said. Allyson Chiu, chicagotribune.com, "She jogged through a swarm of flies. A month later she was pulling parasitic worms from her eye.," 7 Nov. 2019 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

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

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parasite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parasite?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=p&file=parasi01. Accessed 19 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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