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 Toxoplasma is an internal parasite that lives in the muscles of sheep, rabbits and rats. Star Tribune, "Cats don't have to be a danger to pregnant women," 6 Nov. 2020 The truth about this botanical intimacy is less romantic: Mistletoe is a kind of parasite. Quanta Magazine, "The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes," 21 Dec. 2020 In the single-celled parasite that causes malaria, messing up its lysosome kills it. Popular Science, "The best treatments we currently have for COVID-19," 15 Dec. 2020 In some infected cells, the parasite produces sticky proteins that rise to the surface of the cells. Donald G. Mcneil Jr., Star Tribune, "A malaria mystery, partly solved: What happens when the rains end?," 14 Nov. 2020 Quinine, another centuries-old drug from cinchona bark, has been used mainly for treating malaria, caused by infection with the parasite Plasmodium. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Bloodletting and gas fumes: Quack treatments of the 1918 flu," 17 Oct. 2020 For years farmers have relied on pesticides to fight lice, but the parasite has become resistant to many chemicals. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "New genetic tools will deliver improved farmed fish, oysters, and shrimp. Here’s what to expect," 19 Nov. 2020 Critics called it a parasite on society, paying low wages and promoting obesity. The Economist, "Takeaways from McDonald’s remarkable comeback," 14 Nov. 2020 Normally, a parasite will shift to a new protein every few days. Donald G. Mcneil Jr., Star Tribune, "A malaria mystery, partly solved: What happens when the rains end?," 14 Nov. 2020

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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Parasite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parasite. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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