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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Parasite


PAR'ASITE, noun [Latin parasita; Gr. by, and corn.]

1. In ancient Greece, a priest or minister of the gods whose office was to gather of the husbandman the corn allotted for public sacrifices. The parasites also superintended the sacrifices.

2. In modern usage, a trencher friend; one that frequents the tables of the rich and earns his welcome by flattery; a hanger on; a fawning flatterer.

3. In botany, a plant growing on the stem or branch of another plant and receiving its nourishment from it, as the mistletoe.