Definition of termite in English:



  • A small, pale soft-bodied insect that lives in large colonies with several different castes, typically within a mound of cemented earth. Many kinds feed on wood and can be highly destructive to trees and timber.

    Also called white ant
    • ‘This encourages other bacteria to take hold, then termites discover the soft wood, further adding to the damage.’
    • ‘Although a native termite colony might occasionally infest a tree, it's almost invariably a dead one, Messenger says.’
    • ‘Osbrink collected termites from four different colonies and placed them in glass tubes.’
    • ‘Somewhere in a rainforest, inside a rotting log, lives a colony of termites.’
    • ‘The African termite lives in tall mounds so strong that humans use dynamite to remove them when they are in the way.’
    • ‘In South America, anteaters evolved long sticky tongues that enable them to feed on ants and termites.’
    • ‘Dwarf mongooses mainly feed on insects like termites, locusts, beetles, grubs, larvae and spiders.’
    • ‘Some termites feed on the wood timber of houses, posing a danger as a roof or ceiling can collapse from the impact of their feeding.’
    • ‘On my way there I turned over a board and found a termite colony with a few big soldiers in with the rank and file.’
    • ‘But when it comes to creating a permanent home for the colony, termites are the champion.’
    • ‘This treatment helps wood resist attacks by termites and decay-causing fungi.’
    • ‘I found a colony of small white termites eating up the underside of a board.’
    • ‘He also wanted to clarify the allowances for using pesticides to save homes from such pests such as carpenter ants and termites.’
    • ‘Many of the structures associated with feeding are modified for feeding on ants and termites underground.’
    • ‘Too, they can mean that your home is attractive to wood boring insects like termites.’
    • ‘Technicians use fiber optics to pinpoint exactly where the termites are living within the wood.’
    • ‘However she found only a few trees infested with living colonies of the termite.’
    • ‘This clever housing arrangement is also guarded by soldier termites that protect the mound from invading ants.’
    • ‘An adult anteater can eat as many as 30,000 ants or termites in a single day’
    • ‘This is applicable especially, but not exclusively, to so-called social insects such as bees, wasps, ants and termites.’


Late 18th century: from Latin termes, termit- woodworm alteration of Latin tarmes, perhaps by association with terere to rub.