flea

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See also: fleá

English[edit]

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Etymology 1[edit]

False colors scanning electron micrograph of a flea

From Middle English fle, from Old English flēah, flēa, from Proto-Germanic *flauhaz (compare West Frisian flie, Low German Flo, Flö, Dutch vlo, German Floh, Icelandic fló), from pre-Germanic *plóukos, *plówkos, from Proto-Indo-European *plúsis (compare Latin pulex).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

flea (plural fleas)

  1. A small, wingless, parasitic insect of the order Siphonaptera, renowned for its bloodsucking habits and jumping abilities.
  2. A thing of no significance.
    • 1871, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, The Heart of the Continent, page 414:
      The nation of beggars on horseback which first colonized California has left behind it many traditions unworthy of conservation, and multitudinous fleas not at all traditional, but even less keepworthy []
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Alternative forms.

Verb[edit]

flea (third-person singular simple present fleas, present participle fleaing, simple past and past participle flead)

  1. Obsolete spelling of flay
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 74:
      In this Thwackum had the advantage; for while Square could only scarify the poor lad's reputation, he could flea his skin [...].

Anagrams[edit]