Main definitions of mite in English

: mite1mite2

mite1

noun

  • A minute arachnid which has four pairs of legs when adult, related to the ticks. Many kinds live in the soil and a number are parasitic on plants or animals.

    • ‘He was calling to ask me what I knew about scabies, parasitic mites that infest human skin; somehow, scabies figured into a child custody dispute.’
    • ‘Hummingbirds often pick up nectar mites when they visit flowers.’
    • ‘Some arachnid chelicerates are parasites, such as ticks and mites.’
    • ‘While the true scorpions have been classified in the Arachnida along with the scorpions, spiders, mites, etc, these being primarily terrestrial.’
    • ‘For the most part, the so-called feather mites live a quiet life, hanging out on the surface of bird feathers, feeding off oil and fungi.’
    • ‘Dust mites are very minute arachnids (related to spiders) that live primarily on flakes of human skin.’
    • ‘All of these arthropods are known predators of insect eggs; on at least 17 plants, adult mites were directly observed attacking eggs.’
    • ‘On the other hand, although they are also primarily decomposers associated with soils, certain oribatid mites are herbivorous on living plants.’
    • ‘Passed from dog to dog, adult female sarcoptic mange mites tunnel under a dog's skin to lay eggs.’
    • ‘But a parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, has started to wreak havoc on honeybee colonies.’
    • ‘In captive conditions, mites such as the red mite can live in cracks in and around the perch.’
    • ‘Arachnids are members of a class of animals that includes spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks.’
    • ‘Living among these early land plants were a diverse selection of arthropods, including spiders, mites, myriapods and collembolids’
    • ‘Ticks belong to the class Arachnida, which counts mites, spiders and scorpions among its members.’
    • ‘Vacuuming removes mite allergen from carpets but is inefficient at removing live mites.’
    • ‘As I watched, several kinds of ants crossed my view, followed by a tiny red mite, a sizable wolf spider, and two colorful jumping spiders.’
    • ‘While the hybrid zone in North America has not been studied, it is possible that its dynamics have been changed by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor.’
    • ‘The most important of these include a predatory spider mite, the mite destroyer beetle, the six-spotted thrips and the minute pirate bug.’
    • ‘Methods for improving the residual control of mites and prolonging the protection of plants from mites infestations’
    • ‘While the plight of parasitic lice and mites are unlikely to attract outpourings of public sympathy, more charismatic insects are also at risk.’

Origin

Old English mīte, of Germanic origin.

Pronunciation:

mite

/mʌɪt/

Main definitions of mite in English

: mite1mite2

mite2

noun

  • 1A small child or animal, especially when regarded as an object of sympathy.

    ‘the poor little mite looks half-starved’
    • ‘‘She's just a poor little mite - I feel terrible as a person having to say this kind of thing but I didn't know what else to do I was so desperate,’ he said.’
    • ‘His cold has developed into full blown ‘smoker's cough’ this morning, poor little mite.’
    • ‘It's not right that those who are die close to you are your own age or younger when you're but a mite of a sweet boy.’
    • ‘The poor little mite was obviously distressed and was hobbling around on its good leg, often resting on the ground.’
    • ‘Poor little mite was rather disappointed when he realised it was months away yet, but it hasn't seemed to stop him asking again at regular intervals throughout the day.’
    • ‘Poor little mite is going to hate going to the surgery at the end of all this.’
    • ‘She's been having a nightmare, poor little mite.’
    • ‘Poor little mite was most disturbed by the adventure and shivered in my arms, probably not from fear but more from uncertainty.’
    • ‘I'm gonna have to get him to the vets very soon the poor mite, he seems happy enough other than a bit of scratching though.’
    • ‘A mite of a bird must have decided his statue presented refuge.’
    • ‘Poor little mite, you can just see the new spots appearing as you watch.’
  • 2A very small amount.

    ‘his teacher thought he needed a mite of discipline’
    • ‘And then she asks that the wedding feast be cooked without a mite of salt.’
    • ‘He's a strong, practiced businessman and never lets a mite of logic slip from his grasp.’
    1. 2.1historical A small coin, in particular a small Flemish copper coin of very low face value.
      See also widow's mite

adverb

informal
  • A little; slightly.

    ‘I haven't eaten yet and I'm feeling a mite peckish’
    • ‘Later the barman came over to us to ask us if we could tone the children down a mite.’
    • ‘She should be a mite bit more familiar with the history of the institution in which she works.’
    • ‘For their part, the zoo officials were also a mite apprehensive about letting a crowd form around the enclosure where the big cat was giving birth.’
    • ‘You said, ‘an infallible definition is never new revelation’ but isn't that just a mite disingenuous?’
    • ‘The new model rides well and handles assuredly on long sweeping corners, but seems a mite too softly sprung on sharper bends.’
    • ‘I was just your normal kid, content to lead a normal, non-distinguished life, only I was a mite troublesome.’
    • ‘A fair few are competent although scarcely memorable, a mite predictable, but all the books contain stories that could at least be considered for any ‘best of’ collection.’
    • ‘Is anyone else feeling a mite peckish just now?’
    • ‘The mad dash for foreigners to man pivotal positions has gone a mite too far.’
    • ‘We shot a lot of video that night, but these clips are from late in the evening, after much of that licorice-flavored liquor had been consumed, and we're both a mite tiddly.’
    • ‘Alas, they failed to heed me, and as a result the traditional New Year predictions column is a mite trickier than it used to be.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly he is arrogant, a man not prone to shy from a fight. He's an earnest football coach with huge ambition, even if his focus on defence is a mite negative for some tastes.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, my near-perpetual state of blissful inebriation at the time renders the recollections a mite blurry.’
    • ‘He tends to have an unsettling effect on younger members of the force, who may be a mite intimidated by the longevity of his career.’
    • ‘The young fans were a mite disappointed, though, as the movie progressed, at the ‘deviations’ that the movie took from the book.’
    • ‘The rest of my airforce career was a mite strange.’
    • ‘But since I was sitting right in front of it, with my back to it, I felt a mite self-conscious with all these faces turned in my direction.’
    • ‘It seems a mite inconsistent to use your celebrity status to advance your politics and then complain that your politics is impacting your celebrity status.’
    • ‘But for those of us jaded enough to have been at last week's dinner party, it looks a mite bit lacking.’
    • ‘But this system for entering my thoughts seems a mite obtuse.’

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting a small Flemish copper coin): from Middle Dutch mīte; probably from the same Germanic word as mite.

Pronunciation:

mite

/mʌɪt/