• synonyms


[ in-kwuh-lahyn, -lin ]
/ ˈɪn kwəˌlaɪn, -lɪn /


Zoology. an animal living in the nest, burrow, or body of another animal.


of the nature of an inquiline.

Nearby words

inqilab, inquartation, inquest, inquiet, inquietude, inquiline, inquilinous, inquire, inquire after, inquirer, inquiring

Origin of inquiline

1635–45; < Latin inquilīnus tenant, equivalent to in- in-2 + -quil-, combining form (noninitially before a front vowel) of colere to live in (see -colous) + -īnus -ine1
Related formsin·qui·lin·i·ty [in-kwuh-lin-i-tee] /ˌɪn kwəˈlɪn ɪ ti/, nounin·qui·li·nous [in-kwuh-lahy-nuh s] /ˌɪn kwəˈlaɪ nəs/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inquiline

  • The colonies of Bombus illustrate the rise of the inquiline habit.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 5|Various
  • Inquiline: a species living in a gall or other structure prepared by a different species, not as a parasite but as, a guest.

  • Inquiline, in′kwi-lin, adj. living in the abode of another, as a pea-crab in an oyster-shell.

  • Inquiline: living as guests in the homes of others; as in galls.

British Dictionary definitions for inquiline


/ (ˈɪnkwɪˌlaɪn) /


an animal that lives in close association with another animal without harming itSee also commensal (def. 1)


of or living as an inquiline
Derived Formsinquilinism (ˈɪnkwɪlɪˌnɪzəm) or inquilinity (ˌɪnkwɪˈlɪnɪtɪ), nouninquilinous (ˌɪnkwɪˈlaɪnəs), adjective

Word Origin for inquiline

C17: from Latin inquilīnus lodger, from in- ² + colere to dwell
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