louse up

louse

[n. lous; v. lous, louz]
noun, plural lice [lahys] , for 1–3, louses for 4.
1.
any small, wingless insect of the order Anoplura (sucking louse) parasitic on humans and other mammals and having mouthparts adapted for sucking, as Pediculus humanus (body louse or head louse) and Phthirius pubis (crab louse or pubic louse)
2.
any insect of the order Mallophaga (bird louse, biting louse, or chewing louse) parasitic on birds and mammals, having mouthparts adapted for biting.
4.
Slang. a contemptible person, especially an unethical one.
verb (used with object), loused, lousing.
5.
to delouse.
Verb phrases
6.
louse up, Slang. to spoil; botch: Miscasting loused up the movie.

Origin:
before 900; 1910–15 for def 4; Middle English lous(e), luse, plural lise, lice; Old English lūs, plural lȳs; cognate with Dutch luis, German Laus, Old Norse lūs

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World English Dictionary
louse (laʊs)
 
n , pl lice, louses
1.  any wingless bloodsucking insect of the order Anoplura: includes Pediculus capitis (head louse), Pediculus corporis (body louse), and the crab louse, all of which infest manRelated: pedicular
2.  biting louse, bird louse any wingless insect of the order Mallophaga, such as the chicken louse: external parasites of birds and mammals with biting mouthparts
3.  any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the plant louse and book louse
4.  slang an unpleasant or mean person
 
vb
5.  to remove lice from
6.  slang (foll by up) to ruin or spoil
 
Related: pedicular
 
[Old English lūs; related to Old High German, Old Norse lūs]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

louse
O.E. lus, "parasitic insect infecting human hair and skin," from P.Gmc. *lus (cf. O.N., M.Du., O.H.G. lus, Ger. Laur). Slang meaning "obnoxious person" is from 1630s. The plural lice (O.E. lys) shows effects of i-mutation. The verb meaning "to clear
of lice" is from mid-15c.; to louse up "ruin, botch" first attested 1934.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

louse (lous)
n. pl. lice (līs)
Any of numerous small, flat-bodied, wingless biting or sucking insects of the orders Mallophaga or Anoplura, many of which are external parasites on humans.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang Dictionary

louse definition

[lɑʊs]
  1. n.
    a thoroughly repellent person, usually a male. : You can be such a louse!
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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louse (sth) up definition


  1. tv.
    to botch something up. : Please don't louse the typewriter ribbon up this time.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

louse up

Spoil, ruin, bungle. For example, The bad weather loused up our plans, or Your change of mind really loused me up. This slangy expression originated in World War I, when infestation with lice was the common lot of soldiers in the trenches; its figurative use dates from the 1930s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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