parasite

[par-uh-sahyt]
noun
1.
an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
2.
a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
3.
(in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.

Origin:
1530–40; < Latin parasītus < Greek parásītos one who eats at another's table, orig. adj.: feeding beside, equivalent to para- para-1 + sît(os) grain, food + -os adj. suffix


2. sycophant, toady, leech, sponge, hanger-on.
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World English Dictionary
parasite (ˈpærəˌsaɪt)
 
n
1.  an animal or plant that lives in or on another (the host) from which it obtains nourishment. The host does not benefit from the association and is often harmed by it
2.  a person who habitually lives at the expense of others; sponger
3.  (formerly) a sycophant
 
[C16: via Latin from Greek parasitos one who lives at another's expense, from para-1 + sitos grain]
 
parasitic
 
adj
 
para'sitical
 
adj
 
para'sitically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

parasite
1539, "a hanger-on, a toady, "person who lives on others," from M.Fr. parasite, from L. parasitus, from Gk. parasitos "person who eats at the table of another," from n. use of adj. meaning "feeding beside," from para- "beside" + sitos "food," of unknown origin. Scientific meaning "animal or plant that
lives on others" is first recorded 1646 (implied in parasitical).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

parasite par·a·site (pār'ə-sīt')
n.

  1. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

  2. In conjoined twins, the usually incomplete twin that derives its support from the more nearly normal fetus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
parasite   (pār'ə-sīt')  Pronunciation Key 
An organism that lives on or in a different kind of organism (the host) from which it gets some or all of its nourishment. Parasites are generally harmful to their hosts, although the damage they do ranges widely from minor inconvenience to debilitating or fatal disease. ◇ A parasite that lives or feeds on the outer surface of the host's body, such as a louse, tick, or leech, is called an ectoparasite. Ectoparasites do not usually cause disease themselves although they are frequently a vector of disease, as in the case of ticks, which can transmit the organisms that cause such diseases as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease. ◇ A parasite that lives inside the body of its host is called an endoparasite. Endoparasites include organisms such as tapeworms, hookworms, and trypanosomes that live within the host's organs or tissues, as well as organisms such as sporozoans that invade the host's cells. See more at host.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

parasite definition


An organism that lives off or in another organism, obtaining nourishment and protection while offering no benefit in return. Human parasites are often harmful to the body and can cause diseases, such as trichinosis.

Note: The term parasite is often applied to a person who takes advantage of other people and fails to offer anything in return.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
They ruffle their feathers in it to rid themselves of parasites.
The parasites can also reduce the commercial value of the farmed fish.
These parasites dupe vulnerable people who are poor and uninformed.
The relatives of the future duke were the biggest crowd of parasites and boors
  ever seen on the silver screen.
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