parasitism

noun
par·a·sit·ism | \ˈper-ə-sə-ˌti-zəm, -ˌsī-, ˈpa-rə-\

Definition of parasitism 

1 : the behavior of a parasite

2 : an intimate association between organisms of two or more kinds especially : one in which a parasite obtains benefits from a host which it usually injures

Examples of parasitism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In most cases, wasps target these pests through parasitism. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 The internet need not be characterized by predation and parasitism. Brendan Eichand, WSJ, "The Internet’s ‘Original Sin’ Endangers More Than Privacy," 27 Apr. 2018 Hauber studies a behavior known as brood parasitism, in which birds lay eggs in the nests of other species, leaving the unwitting foster parents to rear their chicks. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "Here’s what happens when you replace toads and turtles with 3D-printed replicas in the wild," 17 Apr. 2018 As to why warblers and other victims of brood parasitism fail to retaliate by themselves evolving thicker eggshells, and thus faster-hatching young, that is unclear. The Economist, "Convergent evolutionThicker eggshells help cuckoos hatch earlier than their nestmates," 18 Jan. 2018 This looks like a classic case of convergent evolution, but no one has been able to prove the point by demonstrating a benefit derived from it that is connected directly with brood parasitism. The Economist, "Convergent evolutionThicker eggshells help cuckoos hatch earlier than their nestmates," 18 Jan. 2018 Such brood parasitism has arisen independently at least three times, in the groups known as cuckoos, cowbirds and honeyguides. The Economist, "Convergent evolutionThicker eggshells help cuckoos hatch earlier than their nestmates," 18 Jan. 2018 The cowbird practice of brood parasitism can, and has, had serious implications for other native birds. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Cowbirds make other species raise their chicks, neglecting their own," 30 June 2017 After all, such complex parasitism is serious evolutionary trickery. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Absurd Creature of the Week: This Mussel Does an Incredible Impression of a Fish," 16 Oct. 2015

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

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of parasitism was circa 1611

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More Definitions for parasitism

parasitism

noun
par·a·sit·ism | \ˈpar-ə-sə-ˌtiz-əm, -ˌsīt-ˌiz- \

Medical Definition of parasitism 

1 : an intimate association between organisms of two or more kinds especially : one in which a parasite obtains benefits from a host which it usually injures

More from Merriam-Webster on parasitism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about parasitism

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