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[urth-wurm] /ˈɜrθˌwɜrm/
any one of numerous annelid worms that burrow in soil and feed on soil nutrients and decaying organic matter.
Archaic. a mean or groveling person.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English ertheworm. See earth, worm
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for earthworm
  • That's an average pace well below the crawling speed of an earthworm.
  • Dozens of earthworm species from all over the world can secrete a glowing slime, thought to startle predators.
  • earthworm burrowing improves infiltration and their casts improve aggregation.
  • The project examines the prevalence of earthworm invasions of riparian buffers and their effect on buffer efficacy.
British Dictionary definitions for earthworm


any of numerous oligochaete worms of the genera Lumbricus, Allolobophora, Eisenia, etc, which burrow in the soil and help aerate and break up the ground related adjective lumbricoid
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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Word Origin and History for earthworm
1590s, from earth + worm.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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