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.

    • ‘The most important of these include a predatory spider mite, the mite destroyer beetle, the six-spotted thrips and the minute pirate bug.’
    • ‘Passed from dog to dog, adult female sarcoptic mange mites tunnel under a dog's skin to lay eggs.’
    • ‘In captive conditions, mites such as the red mite can live in cracks in and around the perch.’
    • ‘While the true scorpions have been classified in the Arachnida along with the scorpions, spiders, mites, etc, these being primarily terrestrial.’
    • ‘Some arachnid chelicerates are parasites, such as ticks and mites.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the other hand, although they are also primarily decomposers associated with soils, certain oribatid mites are herbivorous on living plants.’
    • ‘Arachnids are members of a class of animals that includes spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks.’
    • ‘All of these arthropods are known predators of insect eggs; on at least 17 plants, adult mites were directly observed attacking eggs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But a parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, has started to wreak havoc on honeybee colonies.’
    • ‘Hummingbirds often pick up nectar mites when they visit flowers.’
    • ‘Ticks belong to the class Arachnida, which counts mites, spiders and scorpions among its members.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Vacuuming removes mite allergen from carpets but is inefficient at removing live mites.’
    • ‘Dust mites are very minute arachnids (related to spiders) that live primarily on flakes of human skin.’
    • ‘Living among these early land plants were a diverse selection of arthropods, including spiders, mites, myriapods and collembolids’
    • ‘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.’

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.’
    • ‘Poor little mite was most disturbed by the adventure and shivered in my arms, probably not from fear but more from uncertainty.’
    • ‘A mite of a bird must have decided his statue presented refuge.’
    • ‘She's been having a nightmare, poor little mite.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Poor little mite, you can just see the new spots appearing as you watch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2A very small amount:

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

adverb

a mite
informal
  • A little; slightly:

    ‘I haven't eaten yet and I'm feeling a mite peckish’
    • ‘But this system for entering my thoughts seems a mite obtuse.’
    • ‘Is anyone else feeling a mite peckish just now?’
    • ‘The young fans were a mite disappointed, though, as the movie progressed, at the ‘deviations’ that the movie took from the book.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rest of my airforce career was a mite strange.’
    • ‘Later the barman came over to us to ask us if we could tone the children down a mite.’
    • ‘But for those of us jaded enough to have been at last week's dinner party, it looks a mite bit lacking.’
    • ‘I was just your normal kid, content to lead a normal, non-distinguished life, only I was a mite troublesome.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You said, ‘an infallible definition is never new revelation’ but isn't that just a mite disingenuous?’
    • ‘She should be a mite bit more familiar with the history of the institution in which she works.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mad dash for foreigners to man pivotal positions has gone a mite too far.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, my near-perpetual state of blissful inebriation at the time renders the recollections a mite blurry.’
    • ‘The new model rides well and handles assuredly on long sweeping corners, but seems a mite too softly sprung on sharper bends.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

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/