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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These genes are essentially immune system genes and defend the host organism from parasites.’
    • ‘After all, more than half the species on Earth are parasites, and most organisms are host to a number of them.’
    • ‘Because host nestlings remain in the nest, the parasite must compete with host nestlings for food.’
    • ‘Some water molds are parasites on other organisms; they may grow on the scales or eggs of fish, or on amphibians.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Another hallmark of parasites is that hosts often evolve defenses against them.’
    • ‘The most sophisticated defense system used by hosts against parasites is the immune system.’
    • ‘Only the latter could be accepted as evidence of coevolution between the parasite and a particular host.’
    • ‘Host radiation allows a parasite to expand its ecological niche by adapting to one or more novel hosts.’
    • ‘Another constraint on ejection is the close resemblance of eggs of hosts and parasites.’
    • ‘Other typically much larger organisms, including parasites such as lice, worms and scabies can also spread from person to person.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are many species of parasites and disease organisms that infect dogs.’
    • ‘If hosts and parasites are coevolving, this can drive the rapid divergence of amino acid sequences.’
    • ‘All parental hosts of heterospecific brood parasites must pay the cost of rearing non-kin.’
  • 2derogatory A person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return:

    ‘the capitalist is really a parasite on the workers’
    • ‘Every governmental attempt to ameliorate poverty seems to attract its own breed of parasite and leech.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These neocon pseudofascists are like a parasite using the host Republican party to attain their ends.’
    • ‘They are all a pack of bludgers and parasites who pay no taxes but spend ours.’
    • ‘They are literary parasites, the enemies of creativity and imagination.’
    • ‘All workers were oppressed, all middle class people parasites.’
    • ‘They were like parasites, leeching on to him, just wanting him to do this or that, or to torture him.’
    • ‘And that's what it will come to, for the council workers and other public sector parasites.’
    • ‘MPs, councillors and all their cronies are nothing more than scroungers, spongers, parasites.’
    • ‘It was in essence a parasite leeching on to Western decadence and lack of will.’
    hanger-on, cadger, leech, passenger, drone
    bloodsucker, sponger, sponge, scrounger, freeloader
    ligger
    moocher, mooch
    bludger
    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/