|1.||any small wingless parasitic blood-sucking insect of the order Siphonaptera, living on the skin of mammals and birds and noted for its power of leaping|
|2.||any of various invertebrates that resemble fleas, such as the water flea and flea beetle|
|3.||informal flea in one's ear a sharp rebuke|
|[Old English flēah; related to Old Norse flō, Old High German flōh]|
Any of various small, wingless, bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera that have legs adapted for jumping and are parasitic in the hair and feathers of warm-blooded animals.
David at the cave of Adullam thus addressed his persecutor Saul (1 Sam. 24:14): "After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea?" He thus speaks of himself as the poor, contemptible object of the monarch's pursuit, a "worthy object truly for an expedition of the king of Israel with his picked troops!" This insect is in Eastern language the popular emblem of insignificance. In 1 Sam. 26:20 the LXX. read "come out to seek my life" instead of "to seek a flea."
In addition to the idioms beginning with flea, also see hurt a fly (flea).