Definition of parasite in English:

parasite

noun

  • 1An organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense.

    ‘the parasite attaches itself to the mouths of fishes’
    ‘an intestinal parasite of cattle’
    • ‘There are many species of parasites and disease organisms that infect dogs.’
    • ‘By contrast, infection will tend to limit nitrate accumulation in the host roots as a result of nitrate transfer from host roots to the parasite.’
    • ‘We consider three rejection scenarios by a host of a nonevicting parasite.’
    • ‘Detrimental effects on hosts can occur at several stages of the parasite's life cycle.’
    • ‘Selection has been intense as the parasites are host specific and the drugs are very widely used.’
    • ‘All parental hosts of heterospecific brood parasites must pay the cost of rearing non-kin.’
    • ‘The most sophisticated defense system used by hosts against parasites is the immune system.’
    • ‘An implicit requirement is that parasites and their hosts match up to some degree.’
    • ‘Good places for reliable encounters are where small fish act as barbers to their hosts, cleaning away parasites from their skin.’
    • ‘Other typically much larger organisms, including parasites such as lice, worms and scabies can also spread from person to person.’
    • ‘Because host nestlings remain in the nest, the parasite must compete with host nestlings for food.’
    • ‘Another hallmark of parasites is that hosts often evolve defenses against them.’
    • ‘These genes are essentially immune system genes and defend the host organism from parasites.’
    • ‘Some water molds are parasites on other organisms; they may grow on the scales or eggs of fish, or on amphibians.’
    • ‘Only the latter could be accepted as evidence of coevolution between the parasite and a particular host.’
    • ‘Another constraint on ejection is the close resemblance of eggs of hosts and parasites.’
    • ‘After all, more than half the species on Earth are parasites, and most organisms are host to a number of them.’
    • ‘Host radiation allows a parasite to expand its ecological niche by adapting to one or more novel hosts.’
    • ‘The relationship between host and parasite is not a simple one, and just as the parasite affects the host, so the host affects the parasite.’
    • ‘If hosts and parasites are coevolving, this can drive the rapid divergence of amino acid sequences.’
  • 2derogatory A person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

    ‘the capitalist is really a parasite on the workers’
    • ‘They are all a pack of bludgers and parasites who pay no taxes but spend ours.’
    • ‘They were like parasites, leeching on to him, just wanting him to do this or that, or to torture him.’
    • ‘MPs, councillors and all their cronies are nothing more than scroungers, spongers, parasites.’
    • ‘And that's what it will come to, for the council workers and other public sector parasites.’
    • ‘All workers were oppressed, all middle class people parasites.’
    • ‘They are literary parasites, the enemies of creativity and imagination.’
    • ‘It was in essence a parasite leeching on to Western decadence and lack of will.’
    • ‘In the unionists' imagination, the rich are social parasites living lives of leisure on inherited wealth.’
    • ‘I've repented my sins to Sepp and he has led me away from the bloodsuckers and parasites that threatened to dissolve my soul.’
    • ‘Every governmental attempt to ameliorate poverty seems to attract its own breed of parasite and leech.’
    • ‘These neocon pseudofascists are like a parasite using the host Republican party to attain their ends.’
    hanger-on, cadger, leech, passenger, drone
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek parasitos ‘(person) eating at another's table’, from para- ‘alongside’ + sitos ‘food’.

Pronunciation

parasite

/ˈparəsʌɪt/