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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’
hanger-on, cadger, leech, passenger, dronebloodsucker, sponger, sponge, scrounger, freeloaderliggermoocher, moochbludgerView synonyms
- ‘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.’
Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek parasitos (person) eating at another's table, from para- alongside + sitos food.
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