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

When a diarrheal incident does occur, the pool operator is supposed to clear the pool and flush it with extremely high levels of chlorine or bromine to kill the parasite. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "CDC Warns of Rising Threat of Fecal Parasite in Swimming Pools," 2 July 2019 The number of disease outbreaks involving the parasite Cryptosporidium, also known as Crypto, increased by about 13% each year from 2009 to 2017, according to a new report from the CDC. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Fecal Parasite Is Causing More Disease Outbreaks, and Swimming Pools May Be to Blame, CDC Says," 1 July 2019 USA TODAY Cooling off in the pool or spending the day at a water park are classic summer activities, but government health officials warn there are parasites lurking in communal water that even chlorine can't kill. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "More people sick due to fecal parasite in pools, CDC says. Here's how to stay safe," 27 June 2019 Cyclospora are parasites that can contaminate food or water and are common in some tropical and subtropical regions. Jesse Newman, WSJ, "McDonald’s Pulls Salads From 3,000 Restaurants Amid Cyclospora Illnesses," 13 July 2018 Cases of rat lungworm have risen sharply over the past five years, driven first by the arrival of the lungworm parasite, from Southeast Asia, followed by the spread of a nonnative slug that carries the disease. Jennifer Kahn, New York Times, "Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?," 13 Mar. 2018 Side Dish of Snot The birds' palates don't consist only of blood-sucking parasites, however. National Geographic, "Birds Sleep in Giraffe Armpits, New Photos Reveal," 27 Feb. 2018 For example, a number of parasites, such as giardia, are missing mitochondria. Quanta Magazine, "Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life," 29 Oct. 2015 The companies more often donate drugs sold for veterinary care in the West that can also be used to kill parasites in humans. New York Times, "Drug Companies Are Focusing on the Poor After Decades of Ignoring Them," 24 June 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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Statistics for parasite

Last Updated

11 Jul 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 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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