The adjective parasitic is mainly a scientific term for talking about an organism that lives on a host, taking what it needs to stay alive while often injuring the host.

By their nature, ticks, leeches, and lice are all parasitic; they live off their hosts. You can also use the word parasitic more metaphorically, to describe a person who takes without giving anything in return. A thirty year-old man who lives with his mother, eating her food and not paying rent, could be described as parasitic, since he survives by sponging off another person. Parasitic comes from the Greek word parasitos, "eating at another's table."

Definitions of parasitic
  1. adjective
    relating to or caused by parasites
    parasitic infection”
    synonyms: parasitical
  2. adjective
    of plants or persons; having the nature or habits of a parasite or leech; living off another
    “a wealthy class parasitic upon the labor of the masses”
    parasitic vines that strangle the trees”
    synonyms: bloodsucking, leechlike, parasitical
    relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed
  3. adjective
    of or pertaining to epenthesis
    synonyms: epenthetic
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week