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"parasitic insect infecting human hair and skin," Old English lus, from Proto-Germanic *lus (cf. Old Norse lus, Middle Dutch luus, Dutch luis, Old High German lus, German Laus), from PIE *lus- "louse" (cf. Welsh lleuen "louse"). Slang meaning "obnoxious person" is from 1630s. The plural lice (Old English lys) shows effects of i-mutation. The verb meaning "to clear of lice" is from late 14c.; to louse up "ruin, botch" first attested 1934, from the literal sense (of bedding), from 1931.
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.
sucking louse in the human louse family, Pediculidae (suborder Anoplura, order Phthiraptera), that is found principally at the pubic and perianal areas, occasionally on the hairs of the thighs and abdomen, and rarely on other hairy regions of the human body. It is broad and small, averaging 1.5 to 2 mm (0.01 to 0.08 inch) in length. Its first pair of legs is smaller than the other two pairs. When seen under magnification, it looks like a crab