termite

[ tur-mahyt ]
/ ˈtɜr maɪt /

noun

any of numerous pale-colored, soft-bodied, chiefly tropical social insects, of the order Isoptera, that feed on wood, some being highly destructive to buildings, furniture, etc.

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anchorite
Also called white ant.

Origin of termite

1775–85; taken as singular of New Latin termites, plural of termes white ant, Latin tarmes wood-eating worm
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British Dictionary definitions for termite

termite
/ (ˈtɜːmaɪt) /

noun

any whitish ant-like social insect of the order Isoptera, of warm and tropical regions. Some species feed on wood, causing damage to furniture, buildings, trees, etcAlso called: white ant

Derived forms of termite

termitic (tɜːˈmɪtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for termite

C18: from New Latin termitēs white ants, pl of termes, from Latin: a woodworm; related to Greek tetrainein to bore through
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

Scientific definitions for termite

termite
[ tûrmīt′ ]

Any of various pale-colored insects of the order Isoptera that live in large colonies and feed on wood. Termites resemble ants in their appearance, manner of living, and social organization, but are not closely related. Termites can be very destructive to wooden buildings and structures. Also called isopteran
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.