tape·​worm | \ ˈtāp-ˌwərm How to pronounce tapeworm (audio) \

Definition of tapeworm

: any of a class (Cestoda) of bilaterally symmetrical flatworms that are parasitic as adults in the intestines of vertebrates including humans and consist of a scolex usually with suckers or hooks followed posteriorly by an undifferentiated neck region from which buds off an often long chain of proglottids In most instances, adult tapeworms have little visible effect on their hosts except in heavy infections, which may result in anemia, weight loss, and various secondary manifestations.— Burton J. Bogitsh et al.

called also cestode

Examples of tapeworm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Contrary to popular belief, tapeworms don't usually cause their hosts to waste away. Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, "Tapeworms are brainless, spineless, gutless parasites — and this scientist loves them," 2 Jan. 2018 They're generally limited to one or two symptomless adult tapeworms, which can live in the intestine for up to 30 years. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "How Parasites Can Lie Dormant for Years Before Killing You," 6 Nov. 2018 Echinococcus worms, which are tiny tapeworms, can cause an illness called echinococcosis. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Woman’s ‘Electric Shock’ Leg Pain Was Caused By a Parasite in Her Back," 2 Aug. 2018 Parasitoids are known for manipulating the behavior of their hosts to gain an evolutionary advantage (think tapeworms, fleas and ticks, barnacles, Chinese liver flukes). Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "A Brazilian Wasp Exhibits Mind Control Over Unsuspecting Spiders," 30 Nov. 2018 After removing the tapeworm, she was put on antiparasitic medication and fully recovered, according to Jacquier and Piroth. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Her legs were tingling. Then, doctors pulled a tapeworm out of her spine," 13 July 2018 The Post's Sarah Kaplan put it best: The life of a tapeworm unfolds over three stages. Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, "He ate raw fish almost every day — until a 5-foot-long tapeworm slithered out of his body," 19 Jan. 2018 Cordero’s eye worm was identified as Taenia Solium, more commonly called a pork tapeworm, and also rare. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "He saw a little black dot. A brain-eating worm was pulled out of his eye," 13 Feb. 2018 Eosinophils are usually sent out when the invader is a parasite like the one that causes trichinosis (from eating undercooked pork) or a tapeworm. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "Why Did the Young Woman’s Heartburn Keep Getting Worse?," 16 May 2018

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

1706, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tapeworm

from its shape

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Statistics for tapeworm

Last Updated

3 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tapeworm

The first known use of tapeworm was in 1706

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More Definitions for tapeworm



English Language Learners Definition of tapeworm

: a long, flat worm that lives in the intestines of people and animals


tape·​worm | \ ˈtāp-ˌwərm How to pronounce tapeworm (audio) \

Kids Definition of tapeworm

: a worm with a long flat body that lives as a parasite in the intestines of people and animals


tape·​worm | \ ˈtāp-ˌwərm How to pronounce tapeworm (audio) \

Medical Definition of tapeworm

: any of the class Cestoda of flatworms that are parasitic as adults in the digestive tract of vertebrates including humans and as larvae in a great variety of vertebrates and invertebrates, that typically consist of an attachment organ usually with suckers, grooves, hooks, or other devices for adhering to the host's intestine followed by an undifferentiated growth region from which buds off a chain of segments of which the anterior members are little more than blocks of tissue, the median members have fully developed organs of both sexes, and the posterior members are degenerated to egg-filled sacs, that have no digestive system and absorb food through the body wall, and that have a nervous system consisting of ganglia and commissures in the scolex and longitudinal cords extending the length of the strobila

called also cestode

— see beef tapeworm, cat tapeworm, dog tapeworm, fish tapeworm, fringed tapeworm, pork tapeworm

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More from Merriam-Webster on tapeworm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tapeworm

Spanish Central: Translation of tapeworm

Nglish: Translation of tapeworm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tapeworm

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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