flea

Definitions

  • 98. Flea, magnified
    98. Flea, magnified
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n flea any wingless bloodsucking parasitic insect noted for ability to leap
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A water-flea A water-flea
The house-flea The house-flea

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There are more than 2,400 flea species in the world
    • n Flea (Zoöl) An insect belonging to the genus Pulex, of the order Aphaniptera. Fleas are destitute of wings, but have the power of leaping energetically. The bite is poisonous to most persons. The human flea (Pulex irritans), abundant in Europe, is rare in America, where the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis, formerly Pulex canis) and the smaller cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) take its place. See Aphaniptera, and Dog flea. See Illustration in Appendix.
    • v. t Flea flē To flay. "He will be fleaed first
      And horse collars made of's skin."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: A baby octopus is about the size of a flea when it is born
    • n flea An insect of the genus Pulex, regarded by entomologists as representing a distinct order Aphaniptera, so called because the wings are inconspicuous scales. All the species of the genus are very similar to the common flea. P. irritans, which has two eyes and six long and stout legs, feelers like threads, and the oral appendages modified info piercing stylets and a suctorial proboscis. The flea is remarkable for its agility, making longer leaps in proportion to its size than any other animal, and its bite is very troublesome.
    • n flea plural The family Pulicidæ, or order Aphaniptera. See these words.
    • n flea A flea-beetle; a saltatorial beetle of the genus Haltica, as H. nemorum, which injures the turnip, and is also called turnip-flea and turnip-fly.
    • n flea Any amphipod crustacean which jumps like a flea; a sandhopper; a scud. See beach-flea.
    • flea To clear of fleas.
    • flea An obsolete form of flay.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There are over 1,800 known species of fleas
    • n Flea flē a well-known wingless insect of great agility, ectoparasitic on warm-blooded animals
    • ***

Quotations

  • German Proverb
    German Proverb
    “The fatter the flea the leaner the dog.”
  • William Shakespeare
    William%20Shakespeare
    “That's a valiant flea that dares eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.”
  • Thomas Fuller
    Thomas%20Fuller
    “Do nothing hastily but catching of fleas.”
  • Michel Eyquem De Montaigne
    Michel%20Eyquem%20De%20Montaigne
    “Man is stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.”
  • American Proverb
    American Proverb
    “Those who sleep with dogs gets up with fleas.”
  • Don Marquis
    Don%20Marquis
    “a man thinks he amounts to a great deal but to a flea or a mosquito a human being is merely something good to eat”

Idioms

If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas - This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.
***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. fle, flee, AS. fleá, fleáh,; akin to D. vtoo, OHG. flōh, G. floh, Icel. flō, Russ. blocha,; prob. from the root of E. flee,. √84. See Flee
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. fléah; cf. Ger. floh, Dut. vloo.

Usage

In literature:

Nothing in haste, but to catch fleas.
"A Wanderer in Holland" by E. V. Lucas
Guess my nerve went; and then brutes is as quick as fleas to jump if they feel you don't know where you are for once.
"Winnie Childs" by C. N. Williamson
Flea has smaller fleas, 721.
"Handy Dictionary of Poetical Quotations" by Various
Half wits are fleas, so little and so light, We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.
"A Book of the Play" by Dutton Cook
It was Bluff who had fired, but if he hit the great beast at all, the latter minded the wound no more than he would a flea bite.
"The Outdoor Chums After Big Game" by Captain Quincy Allen
Her night's experience at Ottumwa was repeated here, except that the army of invaders were fleas.
"The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 1 of 2)" by Ida Husted Harper
In effect, I would not hurt the safety of a flea; in appearance, I desire blood, blood, blood!
"Nautilus" by Laura E. Richards
And what is more, they are riding three flea-bitten gambling hags, the like of which won't be seen again.
"Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12)" by Various
You couldn't hurt a flea.
"Paradise Garden" by George Gibbs
He's got no more blood in his liver than a flea.
"A Woman Named Smith" by Marie Conway Oemler
***

In poetry:

Valencia's a little town
In Spain. It's dusty and baked brown,
And full of dirt and mules and fleas,
And all around are orange trees.
"Little People: An Alphabet" by Thomas William Hodgson Crosland
There was an old person of Paxo
Which complained when the fleas bit his back so,
But they gave him a chair
And impelled him to swear,
Which relieved that old person of Paxo.
"Limerick: There was an old person of Paxo" by Edward Lear
What have horns? Cows and moons.
What have crests? Cocks and spoons.
What are nice? Ducks and peas.
What are nasty? Bites of fleas.
What are fast? Tides and times.
What are slow? Nursery rhymes.
"Ding Dong" by Arthur Clement Hilton
What does it matter
What we call human, and what we don't call human?
The rose would smell as sweet.
And to be limited by a mere word is to be less than a
hopping flea, which hops over such an obstruction at
first jump.
"The Evening Land" by D H Lawrence
Higgledy piggledy, packed we lie,
Rats in a hamper, swine in a stye,
Wasps in a bottle, frogs in a sieve,
Worms in a carcase, fleas in a sleeve.
Hist! square shoulders, settle your thumbs
And buzz for the bishop—-here he comes.
"Holy-Cross Day" by Robert Browning
It was a Jolly Miller lived on the River Dee;
He looked upon his piller, and there he found a flea:
"O Mr. Flea! you have bit' me,
And you shall shorely die!"
So he scrunched his bones against the stones--
And there he let him lie!
"The Jolly Miller" by James Whitcomb Riley

In news:

Ticonderoga — The presence of the spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive species, has been confirmed in Lake George, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday that the spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive species, has been confirmed in Lake George.
The discovery of spiny water flea in Lake George and two feeder canals to Lake Champlain has scientists concerned that it may continue to spread.
Invasive Spiny Water Flea Confirmed In Lake George.
The invasive spiny water flea has found its way to Lake George.
Veterinarians are reminding pet owners that fleas and ticks pay no attention to calendars as we head into the colder months.
Hold a Flea Market Dealer Day.
One clue – a Hispanic man was seen at a local flea market trying to sell individual boxes of toothpicks .
Town resident Bill Grimes approached the Town of Bath Council at the Tuesday evening, January 17 meeting and proposed a weekend flea market in the lot behind the train depot .
The disease is transmitted by bites from infected fleas.
British police say an elderly couple unwittingly grew a monstrous cannabis plant in their yard after buying what they thought was an innocuous green bush at a flea market.
LONDON (AP) — British police say an elderly couple unwittingly grew a monstrous cannabis plant in their yard after buying what they thought was an innocuous green bush at a flea market.
Spiny water flea threatens fish in Lake Champlain.
Water flea problem persists.
Researchers say there's no quick way to control and eliminate the invasive spiny water flea from Lake George, so they're recommending other ways to try to keep it out of Lake Champlain.
***

In science:

Bown, K. J, Bennett, M. and Begon, M. (2004) Flea-borne Bartonel la grahamii and Bartonel la taylorii in Bank Voles.
A coupled hidden Markov model for disease interactions
***