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

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Other Words from parasitize

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

Examples of parasitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "New antibiotic found in bacteria inside a worm inside an insect egg," 20 Nov. 2019 The cage must provide protection against some predators but probably not against the wasps that parasitize it. Johnny Simon, Quartz, "A year’s worth of surprising and poignant nature photos," 8 Sep. 2019 The wasps parasitize the borers’ eggs to reduce the borer population, Teerling said. Alyssa Lukpat,, "Maine Forest Service releasing wasps to kill invasive forest beetles," 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, "How a Wasp Turns Cockroaches into Zombies," 1 May 2017 There are two other species of Thelazia worms that infect humans, and Beckley’s infection represents a third species now known to parasitize humans. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Woman Infected by Parasitic Cattle Eye Worm," 14 Feb. 2018 In some cases, multiple wasp species parasitize one another, leading to a Russian doll of parasitic interactions. Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "How a Wasp Turns Cockroaches into Zombies," 1 May 2017 Worm-snails can also carry certain blood flukes that parasitize loggerhead sea turtles, which are vulnerable to extinction. National Geographic, "New Slime-Shooting Snail Found On Shipwreck," 5 Apr. 2017 Scientists think the genet gets access to insects that are stirred up by the larger animals or which parasitize them. Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic, "Dolphins on Whales, and Other Animals Riding Animals," 2 Sep. 2016

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 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for parasitize


transitive verb
variants: also British parasitise \ -​sə-​ˌtīz How to pronounce parasitise (audio) , -​ˌsīt-​ˌīz How to pronounce parasitise (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 parasitisation (audio) \ noun

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