ship·​worm | \ˈship-ˌwərm \

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

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 The giant shipworm bores through wooden boats, wrecking them and serving as a regular pest. Sammy Nickalls, Esquire, "This Petrifying Five-Foot-Long Shipworm Is Nasty as Hell," 17 Apr. 2017 Between 1919 and 1921, the naval shipworm destroyed nearly every wharf, pier, and ferry slip in San Francisco Bay. Alan Burdick, The New Yorker, "The Loch Ness Monster of Mollusks," 21 Apr. 2017 Behold, the giant shipworm, your newest living nightmare. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "This Is a Giant Shipworm. You May Wish It Had Stayed In Its Tube.," 18 Apr. 2017 Haygood recalls, until a shipworm the size of a baseball bat lay on the table. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Watch: Bizarre Deep-Sea 'Worm' As Long As an Arm Revealed," 17 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






ship writ

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The first known use of shipworm was circa 1778

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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