par·​a·​sit·​ize | \ ˈper-ə-sə-ˌtiz How to pronounce parasitize (audio) , -ˌsī-, ˈpa-rə- \
parasitized; parasitizing

Definition of parasitize

transitive verb

: to infest or live on or with as a parasite

Other Words from parasitize

parasitization \ ˌper-​ə-​sə-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce parasitize (audio) , -​ˌsī-​ , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ noun

Examples of parasitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But humans moved in and cut forests, essentially creating more plains, allowing cowbirds to move into more areas to parasitize more species. Val Cunningham Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 6 July 2021 These almost microscopic wasps emerge from the sandpaper-looking material and fly off to parasitize and destroy pest moth eggs. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, 8 Mar. 2021 Follow-up studies have shown the wasps can find beetles, parasitize them, and reproduce; in some trees, up to 80% of ash borer larvae have wasps living inside them. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, 12 Nov. 2020 All of the 50 or so species in the genus have larvae that are dependent on birds for their nutrition; to date they are known to parasitize over 150 birds, from hawks to hummingbirds. Popular Science, 20 Oct. 2020 The latest organisms that researchers have looked to are bacteria in the microbiomes of roundworms that parasitize insects (technically termed enteropathogenic nematodes). Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 20 Nov. 2019 The cage must provide protection against some predators but probably not against the wasps that parasitize it. Johnny Simon, Quartz, 8 Sep. 2019 The wasps parasitize the borers’ eggs to reduce the borer population, Teerling said. Alyssa Lukpat,, 17 July 2019 Many other wasp species also use complex venoms to parasitize spiders, caterpillars and even wasp larvae—sometimes turning them into zombie larva defenders. Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, 1 May 2017

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

1872, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of parasitize was in 1872

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Cite this Entry

“Parasitize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for parasitize


transitive verb
variants: also British parasitise \ -​sə-​ˌtīz How to pronounce parasitize (audio) , -​ˌsīt-​ˌīz How to pronounce parasitize (audio) \
parasitized also British parasitised; parasitizing also British parasitising

Medical Definition of parasitize

: to infest or live on or with as a parasite

Other Words from parasitize

parasitization also British parasitisation \ ˌpar-​ə-​sət-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən, -​ˌsīt-​ How to pronounce parasitize (audio) \ noun


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