termite

noun

ter·​mite ˈtər-ˌmīt How to pronounce termite (audio)
: 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

Example Sentences

The house has a lot of termite damage.
Recent Examples on the Web Even though this research uncovered more than 100 instances, Hart-Davidson and Ridolfo clearly say this is more of a warning sign than a solution - like finding a single termite or two instead of the whole nest. Derek Newton, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2021 For a less toxic way to kill termites, use boric acid. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 17 Feb. 2020 These ‘termites of the sea’ convert wood into animal tissue, forming the base of a food chain that can support a rich diversity of fish, invertebrates, and microorganisms in communities that resemble thriving coral reefs. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 4 Apr. 2020 There are Wiffle balls in the gutters and termites in the porch. Chris Erskinecolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2020 Old termites blow themselves up to protect the nest Certainly our most explosive animal story of the past 10 years. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, 20 Dec. 2019 However, in most cases, there are a several DIY treatments that are effective at killing termites. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 17 Feb. 2020 Visitors to the bluff overlooking the confluence of two great American rivers must bat away swarming termites — perhaps the only constituency that has profited from the last 13 years in Harpers Ferry. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2020 The deck had termites and the carpet and furnishings were worn. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, 17 Sep. 2019 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1781, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of termite was in 1781

Dictionary Entries Near termite

Cite this Entry

“Termite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/termite. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

termite

noun
ter·​mite ˈtər-ˌmīt How to pronounce termite (audio)
: any of a group of pale-colored soft-bodied social insects that feed on wood, live in colonies consisting of winged sexual forms, wingless sterile workers, and often soldiers, and that include some very destructive to wooden structures and trees

called also white ant

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