glowworm

noun
glow·​worm | \ ˈglō-ˌwərm How to pronounce glowworm (audio) \

Definition of glowworm

: any of various luminous insect larvae or adults with wings rudimentary or lacking especially : a larva or wingless female of a firefly (family Lampyridae) that emits light from the abdomen

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This is any crawling, luminous insect that emits light either continuously, or in prolonged glows, rather than in the brief flashes that are characteristic of most fireflies. Glowworms include larvae and adult (often wingless) females of fireflies and certain other beetle species, as well as the larvae of certain gnat species. They are widely distributed. There is great diversity in the size, number, location, and structure of the bioluminescent organs of glowworms.

Examples of glowworm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Picture everyone on the tour turning off their flashlights, then your eyes adjust to witness these glowworms lighting up the rock faces. Brent Conklin | Bconklin@al.com, al, 31 May 2020 Spend a day black-water tubing through caverns lit by thousands of tiny glowworms, traveling to the cave entrance via zip line and finishing the adventure on a series of natural rock slides. National Geographic, 20 Sep. 2019 As if huge, ancient subterranean caverns weren’t enough, many of them are covered in twinkling blue glowworms that shine like stars above you. Liz Carlson, Outside Online, 24 June 2019 Go black-water rafting in a cave lit by glowworms, and take a wet ride along natural rock water slides. National Geographic, 17 June 2019 Your Nerves While Blackwater Rafting in a Glowworm Cave The glowworm caves are one of New Zealand’s most unique features. Liz Carlson, Outside Online, 24 June 2019 Spend a day black-water tubing through caverns lit by thousands of tiny glowworms, traveling to the cave entrance via zipline and finishing the adventure on a series of natural rock slides. National Geographic, 17 June 2019 Though some of the most familiar examples of light from living organisms are terrestrial — think of fireflies, glowworms and foxfire — the bulk of evolutionary events involving bioluminescence took place in the ocean. Quanta Magazine, 1 Dec. 2016 The prey is drawn in by the glowworm's bioluminescent abilities, similar to a porch light that attracts insects. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 2 July 2016 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glowworm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of glowworm

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glowworm

Middle English

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The first known use of glowworm was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near glowworm

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Cite this Entry

“Glowworm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/glowworm. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for glowworm

glowworm

noun
glow·​worm | \ ˈglō-ˌwərm How to pronounce glowworm (audio) \

Kids Definition of glowworm

: an insect or insect larva that gives off light

More from Merriam-Webster on glowworm

Nglish: Translation of glowworm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about glowworm

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