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

And last but not least, a true reader favorite: The size of the orange band on the woolly bear (or woolly worm) caterpillar. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Look to nature for signs of a harsh winter: Farmers’ Almanac shares 1978 lore," 14 Sep. 2019 Conquer worm — Blanco and Reposado tequila, beet juice, lemon, agave, pinch of salt, grapefruit tonic and garnished with black salt streak for $12.66. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Death or Glory goes all gory with Halloween pop-up," 27 Aug. 2019 Murray said of the stand, while daughters Story, 8, and Ari, 6, gleefully dove spoons into blue snowballs topped with gummy worms. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "10 Baltimore area snowball stands worth your time," 26 June 2019 Most trout anglers are trolling spinners and wedding rings or bait fishing with worms, corn and marshmallows. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Chinook season in Idaho about to hit full stride. Here's the scouting report," 22 June 2018 Workshops for students of all ages teach basic plant care, plant nutrition, composting and vermiculture -- gardening and composting with worms. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter, cleveland.com, "Shanti Community Farms offers Akron refugees space to farm and a sense of purpose (photos)," 12 Apr. 2018 Most monitor lizards just have these vermiform (worm-shaped) osteoderms, but this guy has four very distinct morphologies, which is very unusual across lizards. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Komodo Dragons Have Skin That Looks Like Chain Mail," 17 Sep. 2019 Rock phosphate is 0-5-0 and earth worm castings are 2-1-1. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Feed your garden beds now so they’ll be ready for spring," 22 Aug. 2019 Cupertino residents who attend a composting class are eligible to receive a free compost bin or worm bin, limited to one per household. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "Cupertino community briefs for the week of Aug. 16," 16 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Portable technology, however, has wormed its way under our covers. Brian Fagan, The Conversation, "The bizarre social history of beds," 13 Sep. 2019 So how did Schitt’s Creek manage to worm its way into the hearts of Emmy voters? Sarah Todd, Quartz, "The surprise Emmy nods for “Schitt’s Creek” are also a win for Netflix," 18 July 2019 Rose is an uptight scientist who uses her position to worm her way into the new principal’s sphere. Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post, "Regional books: “This Boy’s War,” “The Dead Girl in 2A” and more," 18 Aug. 2019 The music is visceral, the high-pitch whir of the lira flutes like a snake worming its way through my earholes and taking hold of my brain stem. National Geographic, "Music in Morocco: The ultimate sonic journey," 23 July 2019 In a domed chamber — reached after a trek through a passageway that worms its way up the inside of the cliff face — A.B. inscribed initials and the date, as hundreds of others had in many scripts, then added a little heart. New York Times, "2 Giant Buddhas Survived 1,500 Years. Fragments, Graffiti and a Hologram Remain.," 18 June 2019 Location sharing has steadily wormed its way into our lives. Boone Ashworth, WIRED, "The Terrible Anxiety of Location Sharing Apps," 28 July 2019 Outside of lamb, turkey, and soy, products like mung beans wormed their way into Bureau taste tests. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "The Government Taste Testers Who Reshaped America’s Diet," 9 Aug. 2019 Don’t discount Arcidiacono’s chances to worm his way into some playing time. K.c. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Bulls reach terms with Ryan Arcidiacono on a 3-year, $9 million deal and get a commitment from free-agent big man Luke Kornet," 2 July 2019

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

7 Oct 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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