parasitic

adjective
par·​a·​sit·​ic | \ ˌper-ə-ˈsi-tik How to pronounce parasitic (audio) , ˌpa-rə-\
variants: or less commonly parasitical \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈsi-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce parasitical (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \

Definition of parasitic

1 : of, relating to, or being a parasite: such as
a(1) : living on another organism in parasitism Some caterpillars even sport white spots that resemble the eggs of the parasitic wasps that prey upon caterpillars …— Mary Parker Sonis a parasitic yeast/plant Filariasis, caused by parasitic worms in the human lymphatic system and carried in mosquitoes, infects some eighty million people in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.— Wayne Biddle
(2) : caused by or resulting from the effects of parasites a parasitic disease/infection
(3) of a bird : laying eggs in the nest of another bird The cowbird and the cuckoo are parasitic birds.
b : exploiting the hospitality of others : depending on another or others for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return … manipulated and glorified by self-serving, parasitic northern bureaucrats.— Edward Friedman
2 phonetics : of, relating to, or constituting a speech sound that is interposed between two other sounds usually as a by-product of transition from one place of articulation to another The \ə\ in \ˈeləm\ for elm or in \ˈathəˌlēt\ for athlete, the \t\ in \fents\ for fence, and the \b\ and b in \ˈnimbəl\ nimble from Middle English nimel are parasitic.

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Other Words from parasitic

parasitically \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈsi-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce parasitically (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adverb
During sexually quiescent phase, lampreys live simply, communally or parasitically upon other fish. — Earl W. Count … those who live parasitically on the political system … — John Derbyshire

Examples of parasitic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

When dictator Joseph Stalin dies, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to become the next Soviet leader. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 An international collaboration investigating biodiversity in leech populations led Phillips, a curator of parasitic worms and invertebrate zoology at the National Museum of Natural History, to streams and ponds across the eastern United States. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian, "A New Species of Leech Is Discovered Near Washington, D.C.," 15 Aug. 2019 The parasitic worm in these cases is the rat lungworm, aka Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Hawaii warns tourists of parasitic worm that can burrow into human brains," 30 May 2019 Locksley, an immunologist seeking to gain a better understanding of allergies and the immune system, wanted to track the role stem cells played in the intestine’s response to damage from parasitic worms in mice. Quanta Magazine, "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal," 29 Aug. 2018 As a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of the female mosquito, malaria is a much more complicated to tackle than smallpox or polio viruses, both relatively simple organisms. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Can the world eradicate another disease?," 8 Sep. 2019 Leeches are parasitic worms, and some feed on the blood of their hosts. oregonlive, "New species of bloodsucking leech with 3 jaws, 59 teeth found in Maryland," 2 Sep. 2019 The more tenacious pest is whitefly, and the options for dealing with this range from biological controls that include ordering parasitic wasps to heavy-duty systemic pesticides, with the risk of harm to beneficial insects. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "The sultry plant that will break your heart," 13 Aug. 2019 They can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription oral medications that kill parasitic worm. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Pinworms Were Living In This Woman’s Anus for Months—Here’s What That Means," 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parasitic.' 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 parasitic

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for parasitic

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parasitic

The first known use of parasitic was in 1630

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More Definitions for parasitic

parasitic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of parasitic

of an animal or plant : living in or on another animal or plant and getting food or protection from it
: caused by a parasite
disapproving : getting food, money, etc., from other people without doing anything to earn it or deserve it

parasitic

adjective
par·​a·​sit·​ic | \ ˌper-ə-ˈsi-tik\

Kids Definition of parasitic

: relating to or having the habit of a parasite : caused by parasites a parasitic worm parasitic diseases

parasitic

adjective
par·​a·​sit·​ic | \ ˌpar-ə-ˈsit-ik How to pronounce parasitic (audio) \
variants: also parasitical \ -​i-​kəl How to pronounce parasitical (audio) \

Medical Definition of parasitic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to or having the habit of a parasite : living on another organism
2 : caused by or resulting from the effects of parasites

Other Words from parasitic

parasitically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce parasitically (audio) \ adverb

parasitic

noun

Medical Definition of parasitic (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on parasitic

Spanish Central: Translation of parasitic

Nglish: Translation of parasitic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parasitic for Arabic Speakers

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