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

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

Possibilities seem to veer from UFOs to termites to, well, fairies. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Other termites build mounds with complicated networks of tunnels that provide ventilation for underground nests. Kenneth Chang, The Seattle Times, "Metropolis of 200 million termite mounds was hidden in plain sight," 20 Nov. 2018 Is having ties to anyone who thinks Hitler was a great man and refers to Jews as termites still bad? Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Should You Attend the Women's March?," 16 Jan. 2019 None other than the most ubiquitous insect on earth: the termite. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Found: A Field of Termite Mounds You Can See From Space," 19 Nov. 2018 Her subsequent investigation of termites lasts about eight years. Howard Schneider, WSJ, "‘Underbug’ Review: Termites and Us," 23 Aug. 2018 The building suffered from a severe lack of maintenance, with recent visitors mentioning termites corroding the structure, peeling walls, falling plaster and exposed wires. Diogo Costa And Leandro Narloch, WSJ, "Dereliction and Destruction," 5 Sep. 2018 Remember when Lorelai's house was falling apart because of termites? Diana Bruk, Country Living, "Lorelai Gilmore Is Seriously The Worst," 5 Dec. 2016 Have termites constructed the 8th wonder of the world? Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Found: A Field of Termite Mounds You Can See From Space," 19 Nov. 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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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce termite (audio) \

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

Comments on termite

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to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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