Hypertext Webster Gateway: "flea"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

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."

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Flea \Flea\, v. t. [See {Flay}.]
To flay. [Obs.]

He will be fleaced first And horse collars made of's
skin. --J. Fletcher.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Flea \Flea\, n. [OE. fle, flee, AS. fle['a], fle['a]h; akin to
D. ?, OHG. fl?h, G. floh, Icel. fl?, Russ. blocha; prob. from
the root of E. flee. ? 84. See {Flee}.] (Zo["o]l.)
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 ({P. canis})
takes its place. See {Aphaniptera}, and {Dog flea}. See
Illustration in Appendix.

{A flea in the ear}, an unwelcome hint or unexpected reply,
annoying like a flea; an irritating repulse; as, to put a
flea in one's ear; to go away with a flea in one's ear.

{Beach flea}, {Black flea}, etc. See under {Beach}, etc.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n : any wingless blood-sucking parasitic insect noted for
ability to leap

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