Definition of midge in English:



  • 1A small or minute two-winged fly that forms swarms and breeds near water or marshy areas.

    The families Chironomidae (the non-biting midges), and Ceratopogonidae (see biting midge): numerous species

    • ‘Oakworth Cricket Club is itching to keep spectators happy - by beating off swarms of midges.’
    • ‘Arctic as well as temperate chironomid midges build special winter cocoons that are distinct from those made in summer.’
    • ‘But as well as spending most of the night hunting for midges and mosquitoes, the nocturnal animals are always searching for new daytime hangouts.’
    • ‘A new era of chromosome research began with the detection of giant chromosomes in tissues of Dipteran insects, the midges Bibio and Chironomus, and the fruit fly Drosophila.’
    • ‘Dedicated fundraisers are set to take on everything from swarms of midges to blisters when they set off on a 100-mile walk.’
    • ‘In the 19th century, USDA researchers discovered that mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and midges spread disease from animal to animal.’
    • ‘Despite balmy temperatures, you'll need to pack pants, long-sleeved shirts, and, yes, even socks, to fend off the hordes of biting sand fleas and midges on the Tuichi River.’
    • ‘Probably the most common method of transmission is by means of biting insects such as mosquitoes, midges, and flies.’
    • ‘Bites from midges, mosquitoes and mites are normally very itchy.’
    • ‘The portable machine was devised by Calor Gas and midge expert Dr Alison Blackwell and can clear midges from an area half the size of a football field using carbon dioxide.’
    • ‘The hormone is mixed with yeast - which mosquitoes love - to make granules easily added to the pools where midges breed.’
    • ‘Bloodworms are the larvae of a non-biting mosquito called a midge and are usually harmless to humans.’
    • ‘Alasdair McCrone, the artistic director, said the 35-year-old theatre, which has just 43 seats, is located in a wooded area and every summer is plagued by swarms of midges.’
    • ‘Most people would probably mistake them for small flies, such as gnats or midges.’
    • ‘Popularity is not always a good thing, especially when you seem to be a siren for this country's 18 different species of mosquitoes and midges.’
    • ‘Rations include a variety of insect larvae, especially mayflies, blackflies, caddis flies, and midges.’
    • ‘The other night, trying to read an improving book in the bath, the room began filling with mosquitoes, midges and a small brown winged bug I didn't hang about to identify.’
    • ‘Only an attack by a voracious swarm of midges then spoilt a leisurely paddle under a warm, summer sun on a perfect, windless day.’
    • ‘Included among the invertebrates are moth flies, wood gnats, midges, punkies, mosquitoes, marsh beetles, and beelike or wasplike syrphid flies.’
    • ‘It is, of course, the midges and the clegs who present the major problem to the Scottish naturist.’
    1. 1.1with modifier Used in names of other small flies whose larvae can be pests of plants, typically producing galls or damaging leaves.
      • ‘The trio have been cycling around 80 miles per day and they have camped overnight along the way, battling torrential rain, thunderstorms and the infamous swarms of Scottish midges.’
      • ‘Global warming will result in an explosion of the dreaded west coast midge, delegates to a conference in Glasgow will be told this month.’
      insect, flea, mite
      View synonyms
  • 2informal A small person.


Old English mycg(e), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch mug and German Mücke, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin musca and Greek muia ‘fly’.