Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of louse
Meaning of louse by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English lows( e ), from Old English lūs, from Proto-Germanic *lūs ( cf. West Frisian lûs, Dutch luis, German Laus ), from Proto-Indo-European *lewH- ( cf. Welsh llau ‘lice’, Tocharian B luwo, maybe Sanskrit यूका ( yūkā ) ) .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /laʊs/, X-SAMPA: /laUs/
    • Rhymes: -aʊs


    louse ( plural lice or ( nonstandard ) louses )

    1. A small parasitic wingless insect of the order Phthiraptera .
    2. ( colloquial, dated, not usually used in plural: form ) A contemptible person; one who has recently taken an action considered deceitful or indirectly harmful .


    Derived terms



    • loues, oules, ousel, Seoul, soule

Explanation of louse by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. wingless usually flattened bloodsucking insect parasitic on warm-blooded animals

    2. wingless insect with mouth parts adapted for biting

    3. any of several small insects especially aphids that feed by sucking the juices from plants

    4. a person who has a nasty or unethical character undeserving of respect

    Definition of louse by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Louse ( lous ), n.; pl. Lice ( līs ). [OE. lous, AS. lūs, pl. lȳs; akin to D. luis, G. laus, OHG. lūs, Icel. lūs, Sw. lus, Dan. luus; perh. so named because it is destructive, and akin to E. lose, loose.] ( Zool. )
      1. Any one of numerous species of small, wingless, suctorial, parasitic insects belonging to a tribe ( Pediculina ), now usually regarded as degraded Hemiptera. To this group belong of the lice of man and other mammals; as, “the head louse of man ( Pediculus capitis ), the body louse ( Pediculus vestimenti ), and the crab louse ( Phthirius pubis ), and many others”. See Crab louse, Dog louse, Cattle louse, etc., under Crab, Dog, etc.

      2. Any one of numerous small mandibulate insects, mostly parasitic on birds, and feeding on the feathers. They are known as Mallophaga, or bird lice, though some occur on the hair of mammals. They are usually regarded as degraded Pseudoneuroptera. See Mallophaga.

      3. Any one of the numerous species of aphids, or plant lice. See Aphid.

      4. Any small crustacean parasitic on fishes. See Branchiura, and Ichthvophthira.

      ☞ The term is also applied to various other parasites; as, the whale louse, beelouse, horse louse.

      Louse fly ( Zool. ), a parasitic dipterous insect of the group Pupipara. Some of them are wingless, as the bee louse. -- Louse mite ( Zool. ), any one of numerous species of mites which infest mammals and birds, clinging to the hair and feathers like lice. They belong to Myobia, Dermaleichus, Mycoptes, and several other genera.

    2. Louse ( louz ), v. t. To clean from lice. “You sat and loused him.” Swift.