follow Dictionary.com

Your favorite word could be our Word of the Day!

worm

[wurm] /wɜrm/
noun
1.
Zoology. any of numerous long, slender, soft-bodied, legless, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates, including the flatworms, roundworms, acanthocephalans, nemerteans, gordiaceans, and annelids.
2.
(loosely) any of numerous small creeping animals with more or less slender, elongated bodies, and without limbs or with very short ones, including individuals of widely differing kinds, as earthworms, tapeworms, insect larvae, and adult forms of some insects.
3.
something resembling or suggesting a worm in appearance, movement, etc.
4.
Informal. a groveling, abject, or contemptible person.
5.
the spiral pipe in which the vapor is condensed in a still.
6.
(not in technical use) screw thread (def 1).
8.
a rotating cylinder or shaft, cut with one or more helical threads, that engages with and drives a worm wheel.
9.
something that penetrates, injures, or consumes slowly or insidiously, like a gnawing worm.
10.
worms, (used with a singular verb) Pathology, Veterinary Pathology. any disease or disorder arising from the presence of parasitic worms in the intestines or other tissues; helminthiasis.
11.
(used with a plural verb) Metallurgy. irregularities visible on the surfaces of some metals subject to plastic deformation.
12.
the lytta of a dog or other carnivorous animal.
13.
computer code planted illegally in a software program so as to destroy data in any system that downloads the program, as by reformatting the hard disk.
verb (used without object)
14.
to move or act like a worm; creep, crawl, or advance slowly or stealthily.
15.
to achieve something by insidious procedure (usually followed by into):
to worm into another's favor.
16.
Metallurgy, craze (def 8a).
verb (used with object)
17.
to cause to move or advance in a devious or stealthy manner:
The thief wormed his hand into my coat pocket.
18.
to get by persistent, insidious efforts (usually followed by out or from):
to worm a secret out of a person.
19.
to insinuate (oneself or one's way) into another's favor, confidence, etc.:
to worm his way into the king's favor.
20.
to free from worms:
He wormed the puppies.
21.
Nautical. to wind yarn or the like spirally round (a rope) so as to fill the spaces between the strands and render the surface smooth.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English wyrm, dragon, serpent, worm; cognate with Dutch worm, German Wurm, Old Norse ormr; akin to Latin vermis
Related forms
wormer, noun
wormlike, wormish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for worm
  • Fear believes that the early worm gets caught by the bird, and sympathizes with the worm's regret at being punctual.
  • The bird catches the earliest, worm, serves the worm for being so early.
  • Cover your worm bin with a tarp or plastic sheeting to retain moisture and keep out light.
  • In an aquatic environment, the worm can find a mate and reproduce.
  • For gardeners with no room for a traditional compost pile or bin, worm composting is a solution.
  • If you take one part gross, a bit of green and a pinch of functionality you are likely to end up with worm farming.
  • It may not rank as one of the great scientific mysteries of all time, but the riddle of worm grunting has been solved, apparently.
  • During his extreme weight loss, he admits, the sight of a robin pulling a worm from the ground made him envious.
  • The finding raises the question of how the worm survives such extreme heat.
  • Of course, another option would be to make the compost indoors using a worm bin.
British Dictionary definitions for worm

worm

/wɜːm/
noun
1.
any of various invertebrates, esp the annelids (earthworms, etc), nematodes (roundworms), and flatworms, having a slender elongated body related adjective vermicular
2.
any of various insect larvae having an elongated body, such as the silkworm and wireworm
3.
any of various unrelated animals that resemble annelids, nematodes, etc, such as the glow-worm and shipworm
4.
a gnawing or insinuating force or agent that torments or slowly eats away
5.
a wretched or spineless person
6.
anything that resembles a worm in appearance or movement
7.
a shaft on which a helical groove has been cut, as in a gear arrangement in which such a shaft meshes with a toothed wheel
8.
a spiral pipe cooled by air or flowing water, used as a condenser in a still
9.
a nontechnical name for lytta
10.
(anatomy) any wormlike organ, structure, or part, such as the middle lobe of the cerebellum (vermis cerebelli) Technical name vermis
11.
(computing) a program that duplicates itself many times in a network and prevents its destruction. It often carries a logic bomb or virus
verb
12.
to move, act, or cause to move or act with the slow sinuous movement of a worm
13.
foll by in, into, out of, etc. to make (one's way) slowly and stealthily; insinuate (oneself)
14.
(transitive; often foll by out of or from) to extract (information, a secret, etc) from by persistent questioning
15.
(transitive) to free from or purge of worms
16.
(transitive) (nautical) to wind yarn around (a rope) so as to fill the spaces between the strands and render the surface smooth for parcelling and serving
See also worms
Derived Forms
wormer, noun
wormlike, wormish, adjective
Word Origin
Old English wyrm; related to Old Frisian wirm, Old High German wurm, Old Norse ormr, Gothic waurms, Latin vermis, Greek romos woodworm

WORM

/wɜːm/
noun acronym (computing)
1.
write once read many times: an optical disk that enables users to store data but not change it
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for worm
n.

Old English wurm, variant of wyrm "serpent, dragon," also in later Old English "earthworm," from Proto-Germanic *wurmiz (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German, German wurm, Old Frisian and Dutch worm, Old Norse ormr, Gothic waurms "serpent, worm"), from PIE *wrmi-/*wrmo- "worm" (cf. Greek rhomos, Latin vermis "worm," Old Russian vermie "insects," Lithuanian varmas "insect, gnat"), possibly from root *wer- (3) "turn" (see versus).

The ancient category of these was much more extensive than the modern, scientific, one and included serpents, scorpions, maggots, and the supposed causes of certain diseases. For substitution of -o- for -u-, see come. As an insult meaning "abject, miserable person" it dates from Old English.

v.

"to move like a worm," c.1600, from worm (n.). In figurative senses attested from 1620s, suggesting patient, sinuous progress. Related: Wormed; worming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
worm in Medicine

worm (wûrm)
n.

  1. Any of various invertebrates, as those of the phyla Annelida, Nematoda, Nemertea, or Platyhelminthes, having a long, flexible, rounded or flattened body, often without obvious appendages.

  2. Any of various crawling insect larvae, such as a grub or a caterpillar, having a soft, elongated body.

  3. Any of various unrelated animals, such as the shipworm or the slowworm, resembling a worm in habit or appearance.

  4. worms Infestation of the intestines or other parts of the body with worms or wormlike parasites; helminthiasis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
worm in Science
worm
  (wûrm)   
  1. Any of various invertebrate animals having a soft, long body that is round or flattened and usually lacks limbs. The term worm is used variously to refer to the segmented worms (or annelids, such as the earthworm), roundworms (or nematodes), flatworms (or platyhelminths), and various other groups.

  2. A destructive computer program that copies itself over and over until it fills all of the storage space on a computer's hard drive or on a network.


Our Living Language  : Earthworms are one of many types of worms, including those of the flat and round species. Over a century ago, Charles Darwin spent 39 years studying earthworms and wrote The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms with Observations on Their Habits, an entire book that described his research on earthworm behavior and intelligence and further explained how important earthworms are to agriculture. "Long before [the plow] existed," he wrote, "the land was, in fact, regularly plowed and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world." Darwin was referring to the way that earthworms naturally mix and till soil, while both improving its structure and increasing its nutrients. As they tunnel in the soil, earthworms open channels that allow in air and water, improving drainage and easing the way for plants to send down roots; they also carry nutrients from deep soils to the surface. Earthworms eat plant material in the soil, decaying leaves, and leaf litter, and their own waste provides nourishment for plants and other organisms. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen, an important plant nutrient. It is estimated that each year earthworms in one acre of land move 18 or more tons of soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for worm

worm

noun
  1. A despicable person; bastard, jerk: Cut that out, you little worm (fr 800s)
  2. (also tapeworm) A program that copies itself from one computer to another in a network, does not destroy data, but can clutter up a system: which is now classified as a ''worm'' because the writer of the program did not mean to do damage/ A worm, in computerese, is one of the many varieties of viruses that infect computers (late 1980s+ Computer)
Related Terms

can of worms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
worm in Technology

networking, security
(From "Tapeworm" in John Brunner's novel "The Shockwave Rider", via XEROX PARC) A program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes. Compare virus. Nowadays the term has negative connotations, as it is assumed that only crackers write worms.
Perhaps the best-known example was the Great Worm.
Compare Trojan horse.
[Jargon File]
(1996-09-17)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for worm

WORM

write once, read many [times]
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
worm in the Bible

(1.) Heb. sas (Isa. 51:8), denotes the caterpillar of the clothes-moth. (2.) The manna bred worms (tola'im), but on the Sabbath there was not any worm (rimmah) therein (Ex. 16:20, 24). Here these words refer to caterpillars or larvae, which feed on corrupting matter. These two Hebrew words appear to be interchangeable (Job 25:6; Isa. 14:11). Tola'im in some places denotes the caterpillar (Deut. 28:39; Jonah 4:7), and rimmah, the larvae, as bred from putridity (Job 17:14; 21:26; 24:20). In Micah 7:17, where it is said, "They shall move out of their holes like worms," perhaps serpents or "creeping things," or as in the Revised Version, "crawling things," are meant. The word is used figuratively in Job 25:6; Ps. 22:6; Isa. 41:14; Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Isa. 66:24.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with worm
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for worm

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for worm

9
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with worm

Nearby words for worm