any one of numerous annelid worms that burrow in soil and feed on soil nutrients and decaying organic matter.
or groveling person.
Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English ertheworm.
Regional variation note
The earthworm, a commonly used bait for angling, is also called an angleworm in the Northern U.S. and a fishworm in the Northern and Midland U.S. and in New England. It is called a fishing worm in parts of the Midland and Southern U.S., and a wiggler in the Southern U.S.
Because the worm often comes to the surface of the earth when the ground is cool or wet, it is also called a nightwalker in New England, a nightcrawler, chiefly in the Northern, North Midland, and Western U.S., and a dew worm, chiefly in the Inland North and Canada. It is also called a red worm in the North Central, South Midland, and Southern U.S.