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

The Verge spoke to Ignotofsky about velvet worms, how art is like a scab, and why mistakes are a key part of style. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Get a grip on the natural world with this beautiful manual for the planet," 15 Sep. 2018 And yet the worms escaped identification until now. Ben Guarino, BostonGlobe.com, "Giant predatory worms invaded France, but scientists just noticed them," 22 May 2018 Who would have guessed -- an inspirational message -- coming from a book about worms? Homes & Gardens Of The Northwest Staff, OregonLive.com, "Garden book review: 'Worms Eat My Garbage' spotlights 'nature's most efficient recyclers'," 15 Mar. 2018 Often referred to as roundworms, nematodes are not closely related to true worms. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "What Are Nematodes? These Tiny Parasites Can Help — Or Hurt — Your Garden," 1 July 2018 The wells are up to 40 feet deep, and the water in them is often dirty, milky white in color, and home to worms. National Geographic, "Why These Children Are Forced to Scale a 40-Foot Well," 22 June 2018 Best of all were the worms that were given bran with their plastic. The Economist, "Another way to recycle plastic," 24 May 2018 Image Once there was a mutant worm in an experiment. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "The Thing Inside Your Cells That Might Determine How Long You Live," 20 May 2018 There's never enough time or money or gummy worms to make everyone happy. Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Redbook, "The Great Mom Debate: Is it Harder Having One Child or 9 Kids?," 20 Jan. 2012

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Funk, with its muscular, undulating beats and ear-worming rhythms, brings people together on the dance floor. James Grebey, GQ, "Chromeo Are Here Because You Need Funk in Your Life," 12 June 2018 The researchers will look at pathology slides of patients’ tumors to see if white blood cells are worming their way into the cancers. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "Doctors Said Immunotherapy Would Not Cure Her Cancer. They Were Wrong.," 19 Feb. 2018 Politics, as with most punk acts, have wormed their way into the band’s lore. Jessi Roti, chicagotribune.com, "A grander, less thrashy Iceage still lets the music speak for itself," 19 June 2018 Sounds of the big, flat palm fronds slapping in the breeze wormed into my ears. Annabelle Dunne, Vogue, "I Took 30 Days Off From My Job, Family, and Cell Phone—Here’s What Happened," 17 June 2018 This includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, worming, microchipping, heartworm negative test and a Hamilton County dog license. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Find a fur baby at Cincinnati Natural Foods," 7 June 2018 When inspiration strikes or a kernel of thought worms its way into your head, digital notation on a smartphone is far better to reference later than scraps of paper strewn about one’s physical life. Rob Manker, Naperville Sun, "Manker: It's cold sweat time when your smartphone is suddenly gone," 7 June 2018

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

19 May 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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