par·​a·​sit·​ize ˈper-ə-sə-ˌtiz How to pronounce parasitize (audio)
parasitized; parasitizing

transitive verb

: to infest or live on or with as a parasite
ˌper-ə-sə-tə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce parasitize (audio)

Examples of parasitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the early 1980s, half the vireo nests there were parasitized. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 According to Alexander Cruz, a biologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, it hasn’t yet been caught parasitizing nests, but that’s just a matter of time. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Hundreds of thousands of wasp species parasitize other insects. Nala Rogers, Popular Mechanics, 9 Aug. 2023 And then there's Cross Poison, a slashing move that only has a 10% chance of poisoning the enemy, employed by the adorable non-Poison-type Paras and Parasect (hermit crab-like Pokémon with mushrooms growing into their back, somewhat similar to how certain barnacles parasitize crabs). Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2016 Some kinds benefit the soil, but others parasitize crops, inflicting more than $100 billion in losses worldwide each year. Byerik Stokstad,, 25 May 2023 Greenland sharks are known to famously be parasitized by the copepod scientifically known as Ommatokoita elongata. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 4 May 2023 Horsfield’s bronze cuckoos—also small and sweet-looking—frequently parasitize fairy wrens’ nests. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 The individual scale insects are enrobed in fungal chambers which shield them from predators and the elements, though some are parasitized so the fungus can obtain nutrients. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 16 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parasitize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of parasitize was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near parasitize

Cite this Entry

“Parasitize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


par·​a·​sit·​ize ˈpar-ə-sə-ˌtīz How to pronounce parasitize (audio)
parasitized; parasitizing
: to infest or live on or with as a parasite
an insect that parasitizes many mammals

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants also British parasitise
parasitized also British parasitised; parasitizing also British parasitising
: to infest or live on or with as a parasite
parasitization noun
also British parasitisation
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