- plural of louse.
- any small, wingless insect of the order Anoplura (sucking louse), parasitic on humans and other mammals and having mouthparts adapted for sucking, as Pediculus humanus (body louse or head louse) and Phthirius pubis (crab louse or pubic louse).
- any insect of the order Mallophaga (bird louse, biting louse, or chewing louse), parasitic on birds and mammals, having mouthparts adapted for biting.
- plant louse.
- Slang. a contemptible person, especially an unethical one.
- to delouse.
- louse up, Slang. to spoil; botch: Miscasting loused up the movie.
Origin of louse
Examples from the Web for lice
All of us become covered in lice and insects, which became maddening.A Syrian Soldier on Being Arrested for Refusing to Shoot Civilians
September 5, 2013
Some of the images are very poignant, like the one of a boy searching for lice in his clothes.Poland Observes 70th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising With Exhibit of 3D Photos
April 17, 2013
With most diseases spread by rodents, the mouse or rat or vole is only an intermediary (a “host”) for fleas and lice and the like.Yosemite Hanta Virus: Nature Strikes Back
September 3, 2012
If you have dead bodies, pestilence, lice, with a 90 temperature--mosquitoes, flies--then you have serious problems.Haiti's Grisly Problem
January 19, 2010
The sea-lion was very glad to have the lice picked out of its head.Aino Folk-Tales
Basil Hall Chamberlain
Said he, "If it were lice got you into that state, you'd be crawling with them."An Onlooker in France 1917-1919
For they multiply like lice, and are as poisonous as the snakes that crawl in the steppe of Muhan.Life of Schamyl
John Milton Mackie
The "lice" winter as eggs under the scale and hatch in late May or early June.Apple Growing
M. C. Burritt
Along with the itch are often found parasites of the head, or lice (pediculi).The Mother and Her Child
William S. Sadler
- the plural of louse
- any wingless bloodsucking insect of the order Anoplura: includes Pediculus capitis (head louse), Pediculus corporis (body louse), and the crab louse, all of which infest manRelated adjective: pedicular
- biting louse or bird louse any wingless insect of the order Mallophaga, such as the chicken louse: external parasites of birds and mammals with biting mouthparts
- any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the plant louse and book louse
- plural louses slang an unpleasant or mean person
- to remove lice from
- (foll by up) slang to ruin or spoil
Word Origin and History for lice
"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.
- Plural oflouse
- 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.