horn·​worm ˈhȯrn-ˌwərm How to pronounce hornworm (audio)
: a hawk moth caterpillar having a hornlike tail process compare tomato hornworm

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The bug eats hornworm caterpillars. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2010 Allmann and Baldwin showed that something in the hornworm spit was causing this change. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2010 Fewer weeds means fewer places for hornworm moths to lay eggs. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 June 2022 The caterpillars feed continuously, so any time of day will work for going on a hornworm hunt. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 June 2022 That is a hornworm caterpillar from the genus Smerinthus. oregonlive, 5 July 2020 Our research team at Michigan State University’s Plant Resilience Institute watched what happened in hotter weather when hornworm caterpillars attacked a tomato plant. Nathan Havko, The Conversation, 7 Apr. 2020 The hornworm is a voracious eater of plants — mainly tomatoes and peppers. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 15 July 2019 Some people argue that the caterpillars should be left to do their thing because the reward is seeing the moth, but gardeners often don’t see it that way and go out on hornworm hunts. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 15 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hornworm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1676, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hornworm was in 1676

Dictionary Entries Near hornworm

Cite this Entry

“Hornworm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornworm. Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

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