Origin of head louse
Definition for head louse (2 of 2)
noun, plural lice [lahys] /laɪs/ for 1–3, lous·es for 4.
verb (used with object), loused, lous·ing.
Origin of louse
British Dictionary definitions for head louse
noun plural lice (laɪs)
Word Origin for louse
Word Origin and History for head louse
"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.