par·​a·​sit·​ize | \ ˈper-ə-sə-ˌtiz , -ˌsī-, ˈpa-rə-\
parasitized; parasitizing

Definition of parasitize

transitive verb

: to infest or live on or with as a parasite

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from parasitize

parasitization \ ˌper-​ə-​sə-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən , -​ˌsī-​ , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ noun

Examples of parasitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Why doesn’t the mussel just release its young into the water column, like any number of other freshwater mussels (whose larvae also find fish to parasitize, only by floating around willy-nilly)? Matt Simon, WIRED, "Absurd Creature of the Week: This Mussel Does an Incredible Impression of a Fish," 16 Oct. 2015 Of the 2,500 species of fleas known to science, 94 percent of them parasitize mammals, and the rest make a living on birds. Photograph Courtesy Michael Hastriter, National Geographic, "Fleas Hitch Ride on Earwigs to Suck Bat Blood," 5 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of parasitize

1872, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about parasitize

Share parasitize

Statistics for parasitize

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parasitize

The first known use of parasitize was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for parasitize


transitive verb
variants: also British parasitise \ -​sə-​ˌtīz , -​ˌsīt-​ˌīz \
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-​ \ noun

Comments on parasitize

What made you want to look up parasitize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!