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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Did You Know?

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 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, "New Zealand Expedition: South Island Winter Adventure," 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, "8 Can't-Miss New Zealand Adventures," 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, "New Zealand High School Expedition," 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, "8 Can't-Miss New Zealand Adventures," 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, "New Zealand High School Expedition," 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, "In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light," 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, "How Fireflies Glow (and What Really Turns Them On)," 2 July 2016

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.

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First Known Use of glowworm

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glowworm

Middle English

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Time Traveler for glowworm

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for glowworm

Last Updated

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Glowworm.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/glowworm. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for glowworm

glowworm

noun
How to pronounce glowworm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of glowworm

: a type of insect that produces a small amount of light from its body

glowworm

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

Kids Definition of glowworm

: an insect or insect larva that gives off light

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More from Merriam-Webster on glowworm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glowworm

Spanish Central: Translation of glowworm

Nglish: Translation of glowworm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about glowworm

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