parasite
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈpæɹəˌsaɪt/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈpæɹəˌsaɪt/, /ˈpɛɹəˌsaɪt/
Noun

parasite (plural parasites)

  1. (pejorative) A person who lives on other people's efforts or expense and gives little or nothing back. [from 16th c.]
  2. (pejorative) A sycophant or hanger-on.
  3. (biology) An organism that lives on or in another organism of a different species, deriving benefit from living on or in that other organism, while not contributing towards that other organism sufficiently to cover the cost to that other organism.
    ''Lice, fleas, ticks and mites are widely spread parasites.;;
  4. (literary, poetic) A climbing plant which is supported by a wall, trellis etc. [from 19th c.]
    • 1813, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab, I:
      Her golden tresses shade / The bosom’s stainless pride, / Curling like tendrils of the parasite / Around a marble column.
  5. (historical) A retainer or companion of an ancient Celtic warrior, who praised him in song or poetry at gatherings; a bard.
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