Parasites are organisms that obtain food and shelter by living on or within another organism. The parasite derives all benefits from association and the host may either not be harmed or may suffer the consequences of this association, a parasite disease. The parasite is termed obligate when it can live only in association with a host or it is classified as facultative when it can live both in or on a host as well as in a free form. Parasites which live inside the body are termed endoparasites whereas those which exist on the body surface are called ectoparasites. Parasites that cause harm to the host are pathogenic parasites while those that benefit from the host without causing it any harm are known as commensals.
1. Biology An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
a. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.
b. One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.
3. A professional dinner guest, especially in ancient Greece.
[Latin parastus, a person who lives by amusing the rich, from Greek parastos, person who eats at someone else’s table, parasite : para-, beside; see para-1stos, grain, food.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
1. an animal or plant that lives in or on another from which it obtains nourishment
2. a person who habitually lives at the expense of others; sponger [Greek para- beside + sitos grain]
Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006
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 © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
|Noun||1.||parasite – an animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); it obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host
parasitic plant – plant living on another plant and obtaining organic nutriment from it
host – an animal or plant that nourishes and supports a parasite; it does not benefit and is often harmed by the association
|2.||parasite – a follower who hangs around a host (without benefit to the host) in hope of gain or advantage
follower – a person who accepts the leadership of another
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Collins Essential Thesaurus 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2005, 2006