worm

noun, often attributive
\ˈwərm \

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 \ adjective

Synonyms for worm

Synonyms: Verb

belly, crawl, creep, grovel, slide, slither, snake, wriggle

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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 the worms can also burrow into human skin and cause a rash before the misguided parasites die. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "There might be poop in the water you’re swimming in so please don’t swallow it, CDC says," 29 June 2018 By making a fluorescent tag that homed in on the worm’s tetraspanin, the researchers were able to isolate just this one cell type, dubbed neoblast subtype No. 2 (Nb2), for further testing. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This one, newly discovered cell can remake a whole animal," 14 June 2018 The second piece of malware is a worm that spreads across SMB networks by guessing weak passwords. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "With possible summit approaching, North Korean espionage hacks continue," 1 June 2018 There are marine worms with violet blood and leeches with green blood — but lizards use the same red-inducing hemoglobin to carry oxygen as humans do. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Green-Blooded Lizards Live With a Pigment That Should Kill Them," 20 May 2018 Stuxnet was a computer worm jointly developed by Israel and the United States that caused uranium centrifuges to spin out of control, though the two governments have not publicly acknowledged their role. Ellen Nakashima And Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, "They’re on the lookout for malware that can kill," 27 Apr. 2018 Troll for trout, throw plastics and crankbaits for bass or toss small jigs and crankbaits tipped with worms or cut bait to tempt bluegill, crappie and perch. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Warm Lake offers chance to beat the heat, catch some fish near Cascade," 9 July 2018 Another species, bone-eating worms,use acid to dissolve the skeletons of dead whales. Cliff Kapono, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Boom! Pow! Zap! The superheroes of the sea have invaded Birch Aquarium," 3 July 2018 Instead, microscopic worms infested her body, causing catastrophic and irreversible damage. The Economist, "How Sierra Leone is beating tropical diseases," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Having raised one of those means that baseball has wormed its way into some perpetual corner of my psyche, a lot like how baseball lingo has seeped throughout our American culture and language. Edie Ravenelle, BostonGlobe.com, "How one pro pitcher’s parents helped him become a pro," 10 Apr. 2018 Suppose some idiot student managed to worm his way around whatever precautions and stuck his hand in the tiger’s cage? Breanna Edwards, The Root, "A Catholic School in Florida Had a Caged Tiger at Their Jungle-Themed Prom and WTF?," 14 May 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

6 Oct 2018

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

: 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 \

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 \

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 \ 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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Comments on worm

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