- any of numerous small, wingless bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera, parasitic upon mammals and birds and noted for their ability to leap.
- either of two common fleas of the genus Ctenocephalides, the very small, black C. felis (cat flea) or the similar but larger C. canis (dog flea), both of which infest cats, dogs, and occasionally humans.
- any of various small beetles and crustaceans that leap like a flea or swim in a jumpy manner, as the water flea and beach flea.
- flea in one's ear,
- a disconcerting rebuke or rebuff: The next time he shows his face around here he'll get a flea in his ear.
- a broad hint.
Origin of flea
Examples from the Web for flea
And it all began with a young model rooting through Paris flea markets to find something that made her feel good.Tatiana Sorokko Is the Queen of Vintage Couture
October 8, 2014
I grew up in New York and there was a Caldor that had a Sunday flea market.The TV Superhero Guru Behind ‘The Flash’
October 6, 2014
Six months after he arrived in Paris, he found another high-wheeled bicycle in a flea market and bought that too.Pryor Dodge's Two-Wheeled Obsession Is Now a Museum of Bike History
September 15, 2014
A flea, Xenopsylla cheopis, from an infected little mammal—usually a rat—can hop from the dying rat onto a human and bite it.It’s Not Time to Worry About China’s Plague Just Yet
July 23, 2014
Some kind of fly, gnit, gnat, tick or flea of some kind...the desert kind.Marine First Lieutenant Nathan Krissoff’s Last Letters Home From Iraq
May 26, 2013
And he is quite capable of crushing his heart, just as one might crush a flea.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
And when the mouse saw the flea, he said to him, "what do you do for a living?"Five Mice in a Mouse-trap
Laura E. Richards
What kind of flea has bitten your bride, Béla, I should like to know?A Bride of the Plains
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
You be off, Mr. Philip, without you want a flea in your ear.'The Magic City
"Try it, and you'll find the flea can bite before he's pinched," said Max.A Soldier of the Legion
C. N. Williamson
- any small wingless parasitic blood-sucking insect of the order Siphonaptera, living on the skin of mammals and birds and noted for its power of leaping
- any of various invertebrates that resemble fleas, such as the water flea and flea beetle
- flea in one's ear informal a sharp rebuke
Word Origin and History for flea
Old English flea, from Proto-Germanic *flauhaz (cf. Old Norse flo, Middle Dutch vlo, German Floh), perhaps related to Old English fleon "to flee," with a notion of "the jumping parasite," or perhaps from PIE *plou- "flea" (cf. Latin pulex, Greek psylla; see puce).
Flea-bag "bed" is from 1839; flea circus is from 1886; flea collar is from 1953.
"A man named 'Mueller' put on the first trained-flea circus in America at the old Stone and Austin museum in Boston nearly forty years ago. Another German named 'Auvershleg' had the first traveling flea circus in this country thirty years ago. In addition to fairs and museums, I get as high as $25 for a private exhibition." ["Professor" William Heckler, quoted in "Popular Mechanics," February 1928. Printed at the top of his programs were "Every action is visible to the naked eye" and "No danger of desertion."]
- Any of various small, wingless, bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera that have legs adapted for jumping and are parasitic in the hair and feathers of warm-blooded animals.