Definition of midge in US English:



  • 1A small two-winged fly that is often seen in swarms near water or marshy areas where it breeds.

    The families Chironomidae (the nonbiting midges), and Ceratopogonidae (see biting midge): numerous species

    • ‘Included among the invertebrates are moth flies, wood gnats, midges, punkies, mosquitoes, marsh beetles, and beelike or wasplike syrphid flies.’
    • ‘In the 19th century, USDA researchers discovered that mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and midges spread disease from animal to animal.’
    • ‘Dedicated fundraisers are set to take on everything from swarms of midges to blisters when they set off on a 100-mile walk.’
    • ‘But as well as spending most of the night hunting for midges and mosquitoes, the nocturnal animals are always searching for new daytime hangouts.’
    • ‘The other night, trying to read an improving book in the bath, the room began filling with mosquitoes, midges and a small brown winged bug I didn't hang about to identify.’
    • ‘Bloodworms are the larvae of a non-biting mosquito called a midge and are usually harmless to humans.’
    • ‘Arctic as well as temperate chironomid midges build special winter cocoons that are distinct from those made in summer.’
    • ‘It is, of course, the midges and the clegs who present the major problem to the Scottish naturist.’
    • ‘Only an attack by a voracious swarm of midges then spoilt a leisurely paddle under a warm, summer sun on a perfect, windless day.’
    • ‘A new era of chromosome research began with the detection of giant chromosomes in tissues of Dipteran insects, the midges Bibio and Chironomus, and the fruit fly Drosophila.’
    • ‘Probably the most common method of transmission is by means of biting insects such as mosquitoes, midges, and flies.’
    • ‘The portable machine was devised by Calor Gas and midge expert Dr Alison Blackwell and can clear midges from an area half the size of a football field using carbon dioxide.’
    • ‘Most people would probably mistake them for small flies, such as gnats or midges.’
    • ‘Despite balmy temperatures, you'll need to pack pants, long-sleeved shirts, and, yes, even socks, to fend off the hordes of biting sand fleas and midges on the Tuichi River.’
    • ‘Rations include a variety of insect larvae, especially mayflies, blackflies, caddis flies, and midges.’
    • ‘Alasdair McCrone, the artistic director, said the 35-year-old theatre, which has just 43 seats, is located in a wooded area and every summer is plagued by swarms of midges.’
    • ‘Oakworth Cricket Club is itching to keep spectators happy - by beating off swarms of midges.’
    • ‘Bites from midges, mosquitoes and mites are normally very itchy.’
    • ‘The hormone is mixed with yeast - which mosquitoes love - to make granules easily added to the pools where midges breed.’
    • ‘Popularity is not always a good thing, especially when you seem to be a siren for this country's 18 different species of mosquitoes and midges.’
    1. 1.1with modifier Any of a number of small flies whose larvae can be pests of plants, typically producing galls or damaging leaves.
      • ‘The trio have been cycling around 80 miles per day and they have camped overnight along the way, battling torrential rain, thunderstorms and the infamous swarms of Scottish midges.’
      • ‘Global warming will result in an explosion of the dreaded west coast midge, delegates to a conference in Glasgow will be told this month.’
      insect, flea, mite
      View synonyms
  • 2informal A small person.


Old English mycg(e), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch mug and German Mücke, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin musca and Greek muia ‘fly’.