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
Recent Examples of tapeworm from the Web
The lifts must no longer be hidden away like tapeworms in the niches of stairwells; the stairwells themselves, rendered useless, must be abolished, and the lifts must scale the lengths of the façades like serpents of steel and glass.
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.
Origin and Etymology of tapeworm
from its shape
First Known Use: 1706
TAPEWORM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tapeworm for English Language Learners
: a long, flat worm that lives in the intestines of people and animals
TAPEWORM Defined for Kids
Definition of tapeworm for Students
: a worm with a long flat body that lives as a parasite in the intestines of people and animals
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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