See under flea.
any of numerous small, wingless bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera, parasitic upon mammals and birds and noted for their ability to leap.
either of two common fleas of the genus Ctenocephalides, the very small, black C. felis (cat flea) or the similar but larger C. canis (dog flea) both of which infest cats, dogs, and occasionally humans.
any of various small beetles and crustaceans that leap like a flea or swim in a jumpy manner, as the water flea and beach flea.
flea in one’s ear,
a disconcerting rebuke or rebuff:
The next time he shows his face around here he’ll get a flea in his ear.
a broad hint.
any small wingless parasitic blood-sucking insect of the order Siphonaptera, living on the skin of mammals and birds and noted for its power of leaping
any of various invertebrates that resemble fleas, such as the water flea and flea beetle
(informal) flea in one’s ear, a sharp rebuke
Old English flea, from Proto-Germanic *flauhaz (cf. Old Norse flo, Middle Dutch vlo, German Floh), perhaps related to Old English fleon “to flee,” with a notion of “the jumping parasite,” or perhaps from PIE *plou- “flea” (cf. Latin pulex, Greek psylla; see puce).
Flea-bag “bed” is from 1839; flea circus is from 1886; flea collar is from 1953.
“A man named ‘Mueller’ put on the first trained-flea circus in America at the old Stone and Austin museum in Boston nearly forty years ago. Another German named ‘Auvershleg’ had the first traveling flea circus in this country thirty years ago. In addition to fairs and museums, I get as high as $25 for a private exhibition.” [“Professor” William Heckler, quoted in “Popular Mechanics,” February 1928. Printed at the top of his programs were “Every action is visible to the naked eye” and “No danger of desertion.”]
Any of various small, wingless, bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera that have legs adapted for jumping and are parasitic in the hair and feathers of warm-blooded animals.
David at the cave of Adullam thus addressed his persecutor Saul (1 Sam. 24:14): “After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea?” He thus speaks of himself as the poor, contemptible object of the monarch’s pursuit, a “worthy object truly for an expedition of the king of Israel with his picked troops!” This insect is in Eastern language the popular emblem of insignificance. In 1 Sam. 26:20 the LXX. read “come out to seek my life” instead of “to seek a flea.”
flea in one’s ear, a
- Cat flu
noun (vet science) an upper respiratory-tract infection in cats, resulting in sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges, and coughs
to move in the soft, stealthy manner of a cat; pussyfoot. Historical Examples Be off, old pray-lip—off, and take with you Your cat-foot peace and milky piety! The Mortal Gods and Other Plays Olive Tilford Dargan
a strong cord made by twisting the dried intestines of animals, as sheep, used in stringing musical instruments and tennis rackets, for surgical sutures, etc. goat’s-rue. Historical Examples Simultaneously, the jockeys sat down to ridethere was the cruel swish of catgut, the crueler prodding of steel. Ainslee’s, Vol. 15, No. 5, June 1905 Various The […]
any of a number of short ropes or rods for gathering in shrouds near their tops.