ter·​mite | \ˈtər-ˌmīt \

Definition of termite 

: any of numerous pale-colored soft-bodied social insects (order Isoptera) that live in colonies consisting usually of winged sexual forms, wingless sterile workers, and soldiers, feed on wood, and include some which are very destructive to wooden structures and trees

called also white ant

Examples of termite in a Sentence

The house has a lot of termite damage.

Recent Examples on the Web

Like many bats, the bat-eared fox eats insects, especially termites. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "For the Fourth, bring out the (San Diego Zoo) babies!," 3 July 2018 Also unclear: exactly how cockroaches and/or termites figure into the script, if at all. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "'Cockroach: The Movie'? Kind of -- and it's shooting in New Orleans (of course)," 9 Apr. 2018 In your attic, check for any roof leaks and signs of termites or rodents. Kenya Burrell-vanwormer, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Is your home really ready to sell?," 10 June 2018 And although humans weigh in at just 0.06 gigatons—on par with krill and termites—our impact on biomass since the beginning of civilization has been huge, scientists say. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Plants outweigh all other life on Earth," 21 May 2018 Through much of the 1990s, Father Nawrot worked with Mr. Vaca, the archivist in Concepción, to reassemble another collection of scores that had been found in the 1970s, including the Zipoli manuscripts that had been eaten by termites. Nicholas Casey, New York Times, "Jesuit Legacy in the Bolivian Jungle: A Love of Baroque Music," 8 May 2018 Wooden utility poles were downed not by wind, but because they were infested with termites. Kevin Litten, NOLA.com, "Entergy New Orleans could see penalties for power outages," 29 Mar. 2018 Matabele ants, which are native to sub-Saharan Africa, send out several raiding parties every day to hunt down their favorite meal: termites. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "These Ants Give Life-Saving Treatment to Injured Nest-Mates," 15 Feb. 2018 Also on the non-roach bug count: six dead termites in ceiling vent above food station, in kitchen area. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Roaches in oven, sewage on floor, flies in the fries. These restaurants are in trouble," 21 June 2018

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

1781, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for termite

New Latin Termit-, Termes, genus of termites, from Late Latin, a worm that eats wood, alteration of Latin tarmit-, tarmes; akin to Greek tetrainein to bore — more at throw entry 1

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Time Traveler for termite

The first known use of termite was in 1781

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English Language Learners Definition of termite

: a kind of soft, white insect that lives in groups, eats wood, and causes a lot of damage to wooden structures


ter·​mite | \ˈtər-ˌmīt \

Kids Definition of termite

: a chewing insect resembling an ant that lives in large colonies and feeds on wood

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More from Merriam-Webster on termite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with termite

Spanish Central: Translation of termite

Nglish: Translation of termite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about termite

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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