railroad worm

noun

1
[probably from its dissemination by railroad] : apple maggot
2
[from the rows of luminescent spots along its sides making it resemble a lighted train] : the larva or wingless female of any of several South American beetles (genus Phrixothrix of the family Cantharidae)

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of railroad worm was circa 1890

Dictionary Entries Near railroad worm

Cite this Entry

“Railroad worm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/railroad%20worm. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!