• synonyms


  1. bitten by a flea or fleas.
  2. infested with fleas.
  3. shabby; dilapidated; wretched.
  4. (of a horse) having a light-colored coat with small, dark spots or streaks.
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Origin of flea-bitten

First recorded in 1560–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flea-bitten

Historical Examples

  • He led the flea-bitten mare to the cherry tree and tied her there.

    Second Book of Tales

    Eugene Field

  • All that Mallory could do was to admit that he was a flea-bitten what-he-said, and back away.

    Excuse Me!

    Rupert Hughes

  • You are worse than a dog, you old flinty-faced, flea-bitten scrub.

  • Even the village dogs were there, a legion of snarling, flea-bitten curs.

  • The flea-bitten gray was all horse, but he had a white-rimmed eye.

    Partners of Chance

    Henry Herbert Knibbs

British Dictionary definitions for flea-bitten


  1. bitten by or infested with fleas
  2. informal shabby or decrepit; mean
  3. (of the coat of a horse) having reddish-brown spots on a lighter background
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012