worm

noun, often attributive
\ ˈwərm How to pronounce worm (audio) \

Definition of worm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : earthworm broadly : an annelid worm
b : any of numerous relatively small elongated usually naked and soft-bodied animals (such as a grub, pinworm, tapeworm, shipworm, or slowworm)
2a : a human being who is an object of contempt, loathing, or pity : wretch
b : something that torments or devours from within
3 archaic : snake, serpent
4 : helminthiasis usually used in plural
5 : something (such as a mechanical device) spiral or vermiculate in form or appearance: such as
a : the thread of a screw
b : a short revolving screw whose threads gear with the teeth of a worm wheel or a rack
c : archimedes' screw also : a conveyor working on the principle of such a screw
6 : a usually small self-contained and self-replicating computer program that invades computers on a network and usually performs a destructive action

worm

verb
wormed; worming; worms

Definition of worm (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to move or proceed sinuously or insidiously

transitive verb

1a : to proceed or make (one's way) insidiously or deviously worm their way into positions of power— Bill Franzen
b : to insinuate or introduce (oneself) by devious or subtle means
c : to cause to move or proceed in or as if in the manner of a worm
2 : to wind rope or yarn spirally round and between the strands of (a cable or rope) before serving
3 : to obtain or extract by artful or insidious questioning or by pleading, asking, or persuading usually used with out of finally wormed the truth out of him
4 : to treat (an animal) with a drug to destroy or expel parasitic worms

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Other Words from worm

Noun

wormlike \ ˈwərm-​ˌlīk How to pronounce wormlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for worm

Synonyms: Verb

creep, encroach, inch

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Examples of worm in a Sentence

Noun

I often see worms in the garden. We always used worms as bait for fishing.

Verb

He slowly wormed through the crowd. He slowly wormed his way through the crowd. You should have the dog vaccinated and wormed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But some lucky Southland dads received the gift of worms. Gregory Tejeda, Daily Southtown, "Area dads spend Father's Day in the time-honored pursuit of fish, with help of free worms," 17 June 2019 As for tequila, the Normas Oficiales Mexicanas, which dictates standards for a variety of products, prohibits the placement of worms in tequila. 12. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "12 Things Every Tequila Aficionado Needs to Know," 7 June 2019 The tomato fruit worm is a green or brown caterpillar that will feed on the fruit of tomatoes. Dan Gill, nola.com, "Protect tomatoes from these diseases and pests," 13 Apr. 2019 Scientists believe both worms are females, according to a report provided to Fox News. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Russian worms frozen for nearly 42,000 years alive and well, scientists say," 27 July 2018 Although unappetizing, the worms are not harmful to humans. Ralph Winingham, San Antonio Express-News, "Hurricane Harvey aftermath helps create super saltwater action," 8 Feb. 2018 LAKE OROVILLE Tubes, worms offered on the bottom are the best bet. sacbee, "Fishing line: Steelhead action improves on American River | The Sacramento Bee," 29 Jan. 2018 Most of the marine worm’s body wasn’t particularly unusual. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "These Two Newly Described Worms Have Really Strange, Yet Marvelous Butts," 21 June 2019 In January, farmers near the Myanmar border first noticed the worms. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "Ravenous armyworms are eating their way across China," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This sort of bias can worm its way into all sorts of systems, from algorithms designed to calculate parole to those assessing your CV ahead of an upcoming job interview. James Vincent, The Verge, "AI is worse at identifying household items from lower-income countries," 11 June 2019 Opinions about Jackson are especially intense, Mayer believes, in part because pop-music stars worm their way into hearts and minds when their audience is young. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "We may never resolve our conflicted feelings about Michael Jackson," 24 June 2019 Still, for all the psychedelic dreams that trickled from science fiction to celluloid, virtual reality couldn’t seem to worm its way into our actual lives. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Disney's New Lion King Is the VR-Fueled Future of Cinema," 20 June 2019 Over the decades, the Kadison-Singer problem had wormed its way into a dozen distant areas of mathematics and engineering, but no one seemed to be able to crack it. Quanta Magazine, "‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem," 24 Nov. 2015 At Friends for Life Animal Rescue, all animals are altered, vaccinated, microchipped, de-wormed, and cats are tested for FELV/FIV. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Daisy the adventurous and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 7 June 2019 And in recent weeks, the mystery manages to worm its way into my thoughts almost daily. Beth Spotswood, SFChronicle.com, "Yuba City Five’s fate still haunts more than 40 years later," 5 June 2019 These megacompanies have wormed their way so deeply into the fabric of society that to use none of them is simply not a realistic option for most Americans. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "You Really Should Delete Your Google+ Account Right Now. But Here's Why It Probably Won't Matter.," 12 Dec. 2018 Your little ones will worm their way into their crushes' hearts in no time. Good Housekeeping, "Ditch Store-Bought Cards and Make These Cool Valentine's Day Treats Instead," 12 Jan. 2016

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1610, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for worm

Noun

Middle English, from Old English wyrm serpent, worm; akin to Old High German wurm serpent, worm, Latin vermis worm

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Statistics for worm

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for worm

The first known use of worm was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for worm

worm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of worm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, thin animal that has a soft body with no legs or bones and that often lives in the ground
: the young form of some insects that looks like a small worm
informal + disapproving : a person who is not liked or respected : a very bad person

worm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of worm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move or proceed by twisting and turning
: to give (an animal) medicine that destroys the small worms that live inside it and cause illness

worm

noun
\ ˈwərm How to pronounce worm (audio) \

Kids Definition of worm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually long creeping or crawling animal (as a tapeworm) that has a soft body
2 : earthworm
3 : a person hated or pitied
4 worms plural : infection caused by parasitic worms living in the body a dog with worms

Other Words from worm

wormlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

worm

verb
wormed; worming

Kids Definition of worm (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move slowly by creeping or wriggling She rolled on her back, her tears worming down her face into her ears.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
2 : to get hold of or escape from by trickery I tried to worm my way out of trouble. … the doctor had wormed this secret from him …— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
3 : to rid of parasitic worms

worm

noun
\ ˈwərm How to pronounce worm (audio) \

Medical Definition of worm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various relatively small elongated usually naked and soft-bodied parasitic animals (as of the phylum Platyhelminthes)
2 : helminthiasis usually used in plural a dog with worms

Other Words from worm

wormlike \ -​ˌlīk How to pronounce wormlike (audio) \ adjective

Medical Definition of worm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to treat (an animal) with a drug to destroy or expel parasitic worms

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More from Merriam-Webster on worm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with worm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worm

Spanish Central: Translation of worm

Nglish: Translation of worm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of worm for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about worm

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