louses up


[n. lous; v. lous, louz]
noun, plural lice [lahys] , for 1–3, louses for 4.
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)
any insect of the order Mallophaga (bird louse, biting louse, or chewing louse) parasitic on birds and mammals, having mouthparts adapted for biting.
Slang. a contemptible person, especially an unethical one.
verb (used with object), loused, lousing.
to delouse.
Verb phrases
louse up, Slang. to spoil; botch: Miscasting loused up the movie.

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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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
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
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Word Origin & History

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
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