Definition of chigoe in US English:



  • A tropical flea, the female of which burrows and lays eggs beneath the host's skin, causing painful sores.

    Tunga penetrans, family Tungidae

    Also called chigger, sand flea
    • ‘The chigoe leaps an incredible distance to attach itself to the victim's body, and then burrows under the skin to feed.’
    • ‘The ‘committee’ sat on rough logs, ranged on the sand in the open building; and we had carefully to examine our feet for chigoes and exterminate them after each sitting.’
    • ‘This widespread myth has its origin in the southern states where pests with similar names such as jigger flea or the chigoes do attack by burrowing under skin.’
    • ‘He's blasé about all the usual stuff - typhoid fever, malaria, chigoes, bots, scabies, and leeches.’
    • ‘Sailors traveling with Columbus in 1492 suffered chigoe flea infestation while in Haiti and probably were the first to introduce it to Europe.’


Mid 17th century: from French chique, from a West African language.