from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various small, wingless, bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera that have legs adapted for jumping and are parasitic on warm-blooded animals.
  • n. Any of various small crustaceans that resemble or move like fleas, such as the water flea.
  • idiom a flea in (one's) ear An annoying hint or a stinging rebuke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small, wingless, parasitic insect of the order Siphonaptera, renowned for its bloodsucking habits and jumping abilities.
  • n. A thing of no significance.
  • v. Obsolete spelling of flay.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • transitive v. To flay.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To clear of fleas.
  • An obsolete form of flay.
  • n. An insect of the genus Pulex, regarded by entomologists as representing a distinct order Aphaniptera, so called because the wings are inconspicuous scales.
  • n. plural The family Pulicidæ, or order Aphaniptera. See these words.
  • n. 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. Any amphipod crustacean which jumps like a flea; a sandhopper; a scud. See beach-flea.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any wingless bloodsucking parasitic insect noted for ability to leap


Middle English fle, from Old English flēah.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alternative forms. (Wiktionary)



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  • just want to say that I believe the limerick below was originally penned by Ogden Nash

    April 3, 2014

  • "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." -- from the Century

    April 3, 2014

  • flea: circus employee?

    August 25, 2008

  • Heehee. :-)

    September 12, 2007

  • A flea and a fly in a flue
    Imprisoned, said, "What can we do?"
    "Let us flee," said the fly,
    "Let us fly," said the flea,
    So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

    --Tongue Twisters and Tricky Tanglers by Duncan Emrich

    September 11, 2007