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 shipworms created over 100 strains of bacteria — about 12 of which are being tested for their potential to create new medical treatments, CNN reported. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Scientists Found a 60,000-year-old Forest Underwater — and It Could Improve People's Lives in the Long Run," 11 Apr. 2020 But the bacteria found from the shipworms that had been living inside the 60,000-year-old wood had never been discovered before. Alicia Lee, CNN, "Scientists uncover a 60,000-year-old forest underwater and think its preserved trees may help pioneer new medicines," 7 Apr. 2020 The shipworms could also pick it apart faster than researchers can. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Creatures in This Underwater Forest Could Save Your Life One Day," 31 Mar. 2020 Previous strains of shipworm bacteria have led to antibiotics that treat parasitic infections in the past, according to NOAA. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Scientists Found a 60,000-year-old Forest Underwater — and It Could Improve People's Lives in the Long Run," 11 Apr. 2020 When the wood was taken back to the lab, scientists discovered more than 300 organisms and animals living inside the wood, including shipworms, which is a type of clam that has the ability to transform wood into animal tissue, according to CNN. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Scientists Found a 60,000-year-old Forest Underwater — and It Could Improve People's Lives in the Long Run," 11 Apr. 2020 Previous work by the research team on bacteria in shipworms has resulted in at least one antibiotic being investigated as a drug to treat parasitic infections. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Scientists Explore Prehistoric Forest Entombed off the Coast of Alabama," 4 Apr. 2020 Rafting crinoids flourished until roughly 180 million years ago, when, some scientists think, the appearance of wood-boring organisms like shipworms drastically curtailed their drifting ways. Raleigh Mcelvery, Smithsonian, "Ancient Sea Life May Have Hitched Across Oceans on Giant Living Rafts," 12 Aug. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for shipworm

Time Traveler

The first known use of shipworm was circa 1778

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Cite this Entry

“Shipworm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shipworm. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on shipworm

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shipworm

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