tsetse fly


tset·​se fly ˈ(t)set-sē- How to pronounce tsetse fly (audio)
ˈtēt- How to pronounce tsetse fly (audio)
: any of several dipteran flies (genus Glossina) that occur in Africa south of the Sahara and include vectors of human and animal trypanosomes

called also tsetse

compare sleeping sickness

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The pestilent tsetse fly is a scourge in rural Africa. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 25 Apr. 2014 There are many deadly animals in the world, from the small tsetse fly to the giganticelephant. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 25 Nov. 2021 The tsetse fly which serves as a vector forTtrypanosomes does not seem to be present in the Ethiopian highlands. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 22 July 2010 The rare disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which is transmitted by the tsetse fly. Byscience News Staff, science.org, 8 Dec. 2022 Transmitted by the tsetse fly, sleeping sickness is endemic in 36 sub-Saharan African countries and is almost always fatal if untreated. Allessandra Dicorato, STAT, 21 Nov. 2022 The chemical has been used as a drug to treat African sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease transmitted by the tsetse fly found only in sub-Saharan Africa. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 15 June 2021 Better known as sleeping sickness, the disease is transmitted to human beings by tsetse flies that have acquired the infection from infected people or animals. Carey Baraka, Quartz Africa, 26 Apr. 2020 The tsetse flies are something the parks workers need to manage differently, Robertson said. Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2019 See More

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

Word History


Afrikaans, from Tswana tsètsè fly

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tsetse fly was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near tsetse fly

Cite this Entry

“Tsetse fly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tsetse%20fly. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

tsetse fly

tset·​se fly ˈ(t)set-sē- How to pronounce tsetse fly (audio) ˈtet- How to pronounce tsetse fly (audio)
: any of a genus of two-winged flies found mostly in Africa south of the Sahara Desert and including some forms that pass on disease-causing trypanosomes

called also tsetse

Medical Definition

tsetse fly

: any of several dipteran flies of the genus Glossina that occur in sub-Saharan Africa and include vectors of human and animal trypanosomes (as those causing sleeping sickness and nagana)

called also tsetse

More from Merriam-Webster on tsetse fly

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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