Definitions

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

  • n. Any of numerous pale-colored, usually soft-bodied social insects of the order Isoptera that live mostly in warm regions and many species of which feed on wood, often destroying trees and wooden structures. Also called white ant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A white bodied, wood-consuming insect of the epifamily Termitoidae, order Blattodea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of pseudoneoropterous insects belonging to Termes and allied genera; -- called also white ant. See Illust. of white ant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A white ant; any member of the Termitidæ.

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

  • n. whitish soft-bodied ant-like social insect that feeds on wood

Etymologies

New Latin Termes, genus name, from Late Latin termes, termit-, woodworm, alteration of Latin tarmes.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from termites. Possibly from Latin termites (three syllables), plural of termes. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Snooper earned her Beacon Termite Detection Canine Certificate by correctly alerting to fifty consecutive termite-infested sites. Her framed graduation certificate hangs in the office, a reassuring guarantee that, for $190, Snooper can locate wood-munching pests with an accuracy greater than ninety-eight percent.

    "Now, Snooper is an ace termite finder, better than any machine. In 1996, at a Pennsylvania entomology conference, a beagle took on the newest mechanical termite-divining device and a high-tech fiber-optic detector. The dog blew both machines away. The final termite-colony detection score: beagle, 12; machines, 2."
    —Merrily Weisbord and Kim Kachanoff, Dogs with Jobs: Working Dogs Around the World (NY and London: Pocket Books, 2000), 63

    July 25, 2009