shipworm

noun
ship·​worm | \ ˈship-ˌwərm How to pronounce shipworm (audio) \

Definition of shipworm

: any of various marine clams (especially family Teredinidae) that have a shell used for burrowing in submerged wood and a wormlike body and that cause damage to wharf piles and wooden ships

Examples of shipworm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The two most common borers are a kind of shipworm called Teredo navalis, which is actually a wormlike clam, and tiny crustaceans known as gribbles. New York Times, "The Critters Doing $114 Million in Damage to Brooklyn’s Piers," 13 Sep. 2019 The new shipworm—a thick, white, wormlike creature that can grow to be more than a meter long—lives in freshwater. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Jobs just for women, fish losing their senses, and the evolution of puppy dog eyes," 21 June 2019 Despite their name, shipworms aren’t really worms at all. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "These Two Newly Described Worms Have Really Strange, Yet Marvelous Butts," 21 June 2019 Now, researchers have found the first shipworm that eschews wood for a very different diet: rock. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Jobs just for women, fish losing their senses, and the evolution of puppy dog eyes," 21 June 2019 Deep-sea wood borers (Xylophaga, a genus of bivalve mollusks) take over where shallow water gribbles and shipworms left off. Brian Payton, Smithsonian, "How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems," 9 Feb. 2018 The giant is quite different from another, smaller species of shipworm, a type of clam that burrows into wood, including the wood of ships. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "After Centuries of Searching, Scientists Finally Find the Mysterious Giant Shipworm Alive," 19 Apr. 2017 Unlike other shipworms, Kuphus burrows into mud rather than wood. Alan Burdick, The New Yorker, "The Loch Ness Monster of Mollusks," 21 Apr. 2017 Most shipworms are sort of beige, or whitish, maybe slightly pinkish. Alan Burdick, The New Yorker, "The Loch Ness Monster of Mollusks," 21 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shipworm.' 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 shipworm

circa 1778, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near shipworm

ship stuff

shipt

shipway

shipworm

shipwreck

shipwright

ship writ

Statistics for shipworm

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shipworm

The first known use of shipworm was circa 1778

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More from Merriam-Webster on shipworm

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shipworm

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