tsetse fly

[tset-see, tet-, tsee-tsee, tee-]


any of several bloodsucking African flies of the genus Glossina, that act as a vector of sleeping sickness and other trypanosome infections of humans and domestic animals.

Origin of tsetse fly

First recorded in 1860–65, tsetse fly is from the Tswana word tsètsè fly
Also called tset·se, tzetze, glossina.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tsetse fly

Historical Examples of tsetse fly

  • Some surmise that a fly not unlike the tsetse-fly of Africa killed them out.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • Among insects are locusts, scorpions, the tsetse-fly whose bite is so fatal to cattle, and white-ants.

  • The presence of a formidable enemy was reported on the banks of the Tamanak'le,--the tsetse-fly, whose bite is so fatal to oxen.

  • The tsetse-fly in Africa is a far more important check on the increase of some animals than the lions and other beasts of prey.

  • This disease is caused by a Protozoan parasite, a trypanosome, which is transmitted from one host to another by the tsetse-fly.

    Insects and Diseases

    Rennie W. Doane

British Dictionary definitions for tsetse fly

tsetse fly

tzetze fly


any of various bloodsucking African dipterous flies of the genus Glossina, which transmit the pathogens of various diseases: family Muscidae

Word Origin for tsetse fly

C19: via Afrikaans from Tswana
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

Word Origin and History for tsetse fly

1849, probably via South African Dutch, from a Bantu language (cf. Setswana tsetse. Luyia tsiisi "flies").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tsetse fly in Medicine

tsetse fly


Any of several two-winged bloodsucking African flies of the genus Glossina, often carrying and transmitting pathogenic trypanosomes to humans and livestock.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tsetse fly in Science

tsetse fly


Any of several bloodsucking African flies of the genus Glossina, two species of which (G. palpalis and G. morsitans) often carry and transmit trypanosomes, the protozoans that cause sleeping sickness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.