Definition of louse in English:

louse

noun

  • 1Either of two small wingless parasitic insects that live on the skin of mammals and birds.

    See also head louse
    and See also body louse
    • ‘Petroleum jelly, mayonnaise and mineral oil seem to smother live lice.’
    • ‘You only treat for head lice if you find live lice in the hair.’
    • ‘As earlier research had shown, they found a major split among lice species that live on apes and on monkeys and other primates.’
    • ‘Control of poultry lice requires treating the birds since lice remain on the bird throughout its life.’
    • ‘Head lice are small, wingless insects that can get on the hair and scalp of humans.’
    • ‘Head lice are insects that live on the scalp and neck.’
    • ‘Villagers also cited skin, lice, and saliva as carriers of the disease.’
    • ‘Before treatment, live lice must be identified under a magnifying glass, which is best done when the hair is wet.’
    • ‘Presumably mineral oil is acting like petroleum jelly to smother the live lice and loosen nits.’
    • ‘As a result of their cramped conditions, diseases such as eye cataracts and parasitic sea lice are rife, the group claims.’
    • ‘There are also flies whose larvae develop only in the tracheal passages of red kangaroos and lice that live in the throat pouches of cormorants and pelicans.’
    • ‘Treatment should be repeated after seven to 10 days if live lice are present.’
    • ‘I haven't seen a live louse on her head since last Wednesday.’
    • ‘Head lice are insects living on the human scalp and feeding on blood.’
    • ‘Only the presence of live lice can confirm diagnosis of active infection.’
    • ‘The main effect of feather lice on their bird hosts is feather damage.’
    • ‘Beds were made from straw, which of course is a home for insects of all kinds, particularly fleas, lice, and tics.’
    • ‘Some germs rely on insects - such as mosquitoes, fleas, lice or ticks - to move from host to host.’
    • ‘A strong solution of it can even remove lice or other skin parasites.’
    • ‘The gold standard for diagnosing head lice is finding a live louse on the head, which can be difficult.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of small invertebrates that parasitize aquatic animals or infest plants, e.g. fish louse.
      • ‘Sea trout numbers collapsed in 1989 with many sea trout caught in the net heavily infested with sea lice.’
      • ‘It is the realm of periwinkles, limpets, rock lice, and barnacles.’
      • ‘Sea spiders and sea lice have a cavity of body fluid as salty as the sea itself.’
      • ‘They are also hosts to a number of blood parasites and feather lice.’
      • ‘Stalked barnacles and whale lice often attach to the exposed teeth..’
  • 2informal A contemptible or unpleasant person.

    • ‘He said that, among the others using that network, there could be louses looking for their next attack target.’
    • ‘Since his original plan of using leftover roach motels now seems impractical, Jack must devise a better means of sending these unlicensed louses back to where they belong.’
    • ‘His characters were cads, letches, and leering louses, but they effectively tapped a bit of that inappropriate urge in us all.’
    • ‘All of these characters - if we can indeed call them that - are despicable louses that lie, cheat, and backstab each other in the name of comedy and TV ratings.’
    • ‘The louses are just plain nasty drivers who don't give a damn about anyone but themselves.’
    scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1louse something upinformal Spoil or ruin something.

    ‘he loused up my promotion chances’
    • ‘If he loused it up in any way, everybody would laugh and they would do it over again.’
    • ‘The assumption, as is often the case with this cretaceous era of computer software, is that someone else has loused it up for them.’
    • ‘The film really tries to delve into the Romulus / Remus iconography of brotherhood, but louses it up tremendously.’
    • ‘Without had evidence in front of me, I'm inclined to believe older browsers like that would louse it up.’
    • ‘Sorry for being such a dope but this is my first dedicated server and I prefer not to louse it up right off!’
    • ‘And I can see why he probably said that - the event should garner some positive local press for the party and they might not want to louse it up with an incident involving police.’
    • ‘However, the mechanic loused it up, but tried to convince me that that was as good as those engines could get.’
    • ‘Rebecca has an unerring ear for the ways mismatched people relate, an open heart for the ways they louse things up.’
    • ‘The thing that I really heard was ‘Let's not louse it up with a lot of psychobabble.’’
    • ‘The brain trust decided to ‘fix’ it after that one year and loused it up royally.’
    • ‘Too bad they loused it up with predictable plot elements and assorted screwball humor.’
    • ‘Your summer has been a colossal mess, but other folks have been lousing things up, too.’
    • ‘This could have been excellent and by far the best version of the game, so it's a shame they loused it up so badly.’
    • ‘They then took this cleaner to their design team who loused it up for probably for more money!’
    • ‘Let's not louse it up by letting someone else take over and make the rules for us.’
    • ‘They take perfectly good water and louse it up with kiwi and strawberry.’
    • ‘But then she had to go and louse it up by acting like a damn pop star.’
    wreck, ruin, spoil, disrupt, undo, upset, play havoc with, make a mess of, put an end to, end, bring to an end, put a stop to, terminate, prevent, frustrate, blight, crush, quell, quash, dash, scotch, shatter, vitiate, blast, devastate, demolish, sabotage, torpedo
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  • 2archaic Remove lice from.

    • ‘They were lousing each other; and it surprised us that they did not discontinue their work + as we entered.’
    • ‘When the girl and the lion first appear in the tale we are told that she is lousing him, which illustrates the bond between them.’
    • ‘The grandmother began lousing him again and soon he was asleep and snoring loud enough to rattle the windows.’

Origin

Old English lūs, (plural) lȳs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch luis, German Laus.

Pronunciation

louse

/laʊs//lous/