Definition of flea in US English:

flea

noun

  • 1A small wingless jumping insect which feeds on the blood of mammals and birds. It sometimes transmits diseases through its bite, including plague and myxomatosis.

    Order Siphonaptera: several families and many species, including the human flea (Pulex irritans) and the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

    • ‘We wished to avoid the constant and real threat of bedbugs, fleas, and other insect pests which we had brought home in our bags, topclothing, and soiled linens.’
    • ‘Unlike fleas, lice can't jump from person to person.’
    • ‘They're so plagued by lice, fleas, dander and mange that their coats are spotted with huge bald patches and pocked with weeping sores.’
    • ‘Lice are wingless and they cannot jump, unlike fleas, but instead they spread through physical contact.’
    • ‘Plague is transmitted by fleas that live on rodents.’
    • ‘It put poison in his blood that killed fleas after one bite.’
    • ‘Many things can lead to these hot spots including food and airborne allergens, ticks, fleas and other insect bites, and contact allergens like grass.’
    • ‘In some cases we have learned that an insect can cause harm, such as when we're bitten by a flea or mosquito.’
    • ‘Fleas spread the bacteria between cats, although there is no evidence that fleas can transmit the disease to humans.’
    • ‘It is passed from bunny to bunny by biting insects such as the flea and mosquito so prevention of these is important.’
    • ‘This parcel contained the fleas that caused the plague.’
    • ‘Plague mostly affected rodents, but fleas could transmit the disease to people too.’
    • ‘Imagine my horror when I had invited the parents of a Japanese student staying with me and we were all bitten by fleas!’
    • ‘In the end, I obeyed and fell into a comfortable sleep, ignoring the fleas that were jumping around me.’
    • ‘In 2002, two Gardai sued the state after being bitten by fleas in Garda stations.’
    • ‘The disease is passed onto humans through fleas which jump from the rat when it dies.’
    • ‘He said that fleas can jump over two hundred times their own height.’
    • ‘If you have been bitten by fleas, mites, or bedbugs you may have an infestation in your home, such as on one or more of your pets, and should try to find the infestation and get rid of it.’
    • ‘As he walked around the lounge his boots stuck to the floor and he became aware that he was being bitten by fleas.’
    • ‘When rats die from the plague, the fleas that lived on them must seek out new sources of blood.’
    insect, mite, midge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A water flea or daphnia.

Phrases

  • a flea in one's ear

    • A sharp reproof.

      ‘she expected to be sent away with a flea in her ear’
      • ‘‘But we soon send them away with a flea in their ear,’ explains Patrick.’
      • ‘I mustn't have been in when he knocked on mine; he would have gone away with a flea in his ear.’
      • ‘I was sure the mistress was going to do the same thing as Mrs. Benson and she'd be thrown out with a flea in her ear.’
      • ‘‘He was sent away with a flea in his ear,’ said one Labour backbencher.’
      • ‘He spends the whole time looking at his watch, so Flynn sends him packing with a flea in his ear.’
      • ‘He might give senior management a flea in their ear, but he has never claimed to be a nice guy.’
      • ‘She sent them packing with a flea in their ear of course.’
      • ‘A few weeks ago at another tournament in England, such assumptions saw one mouthy opponent dispatched with a flea in his ear.’
      • ‘And if anybody asks when we will be having children they will go away with a flea in their ear.’
      • ‘It would have been enough to send him back with a flea in his ear.’

Origin

Old English flēa, flēah, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vlo and German Floh.

Pronunciation

flea

/flē//fli/