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[kang-ker-wurm] /ˈkæŋ kərˌwɜrm/
the striped, green caterpillar of any of several geometrid moths: a foliage pest of various fruit and shade trees, as Paleacrita vernata (spring cankerworm) and Alsophila pometaria (fall cankerworm)
Origin of cankerworm
1520-30; canker + worm Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cankerworm
Historical Examples
  • The cankerworm stood at his right hand, and of all his richest, most precious work, there remains only the shadow.

  • cankerworm, a worm which is very destructive to trees and plants.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy Catherine Esther Beecher
  • Sickness, like a cankerworm, was gnawing at her life, and dragging her towards the tomb.

    Poor Folk Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Then surely would the years eaten by the cankerworm be given back!

  • Paris society, I know for a fact; has many such a cankerworm in its heart.

    The Yellow Claw Sax Rohmer
  • I want to see child-faces—even if they can be clouded by envy's cankerworm!

    Lucky Pehr August Strindberg
  • This gives a total of nearly twenty thousand cankerworm moth eggs destroyed by four birds in a few minutes.

    The Bird Study Book Thomas Gilbert Pearson
  • Raupenleim: a patented sticky substance used to catch the cankerworm.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • Nearly all the common birds feed freely upon the cankerworm, and benefit the orchard in so doing.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • O envy, root of all countless evils, and cankerworm of the virtues!

British Dictionary definitions for cankerworm


the larva of either of two geometrid moths, Paleacrita vernata or Alsophila pometaria, which feed on and destroy fruit and shade trees in North America
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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cankerworm in the Bible

(Heb. yelek), "the licking locust," which licks up the grass of the field; probably the locust at a certain stage of its growth, just as it emerges from the caterpillar state (Joel 1:4; 2:25). The word is rendered "caterpillar" in Ps. 105:34; Jer. 51:14, 17 (but R.V. "canker-worm"). "It spoileth and fleeth away" (Nah. 3:16), or as some read the passage, "The cankerworm putteth off [i.e., the envelope of its wings], and fleeth away."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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