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


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

Other Words from worm


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

Synonyms for worm

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It’s not something that will be sustainable, but Everett is out and time is running out for the Thunderbirds, so that worm might never turn this year. Dylan Bumbarger, oregonlive, 9 May 2022 The worm composters on our list have capacities ranging from four gallons to 29 gallons. Kylee Mcguigan, Popular Mechanics, 3 May 2022 There are also worm compost bins, that use worms to break down food, but those are often messy. Sarah Madaus, SELF, 22 Apr. 2022 On top of discussing research on invisibility cloaks, the documents also reveal that the AATIP was looking into traversable worm holes. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 22 Apr. 2022 Erosion, mining, road cutting, mountain removal, gravedigging, bulldozing, worm digging–these are the personal experiences of earth backgrounding Holley’s life. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Cornell also advises buying mulch or compost that has been heat-treated so any potential jumping worm egg casings are eradicated. al, 4 Apr. 2022 Drop in to get composting ideas, including pointers about worm composting from the Junior Gardeners After School Club. Jeanette Marantosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Has that child-like squeal and excitement, courtesy of the worm, ever gotten any credit, in any column, by any outdoor writer in the past 20, 30 or even 40 years? Jim Gronaw, Baltimore Sun, 17 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rather, the flimsy excuse looks like Musk trying to worm his way out of the deal or open a window for negotiating down the price. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 13 May 2022 Although the interior designers don't coordinate their rooms together, inevitably colors and motifs worm their way into the home's zeitgeist. Olivia Hosken, Town & Country, 5 Mar. 2022 Those vulnerabilities might be weird coding mistakes (writing software is hard) or just unforeseen paths a hacker could take to worm their way in. Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2021 As time goes on, bad actors will likely exploit log4j to install ransomware, steal data or worm their way into the back ends of critical systems like banks or government agencies. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Some work for weeks to gain entry to a company’s network and then worm their way through the system, finding the most vital data to hold hostage. The Editors, Scientific American, 21 Dec. 2021 Ivermectin is used to treat parasites such as worms and lice in humans and it is also used by veterinarians to de-worm large animals. Amanda Watts, CNN, 13 Nov. 2021 Charlotte can easily worm its way into a playoff seed and break a five-year postseason drought. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 17 Oct. 2021 Undergrad was spent trying to worm his way into productions at the prestigious Yale School of Drama. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 2 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of worm


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


1610, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for worm


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

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Time Traveler for worm

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

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Statistics for worm

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Worm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worm. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for worm


\ 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


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


\ 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 worm (audio) \ adjective


transitive verb

Medical Definition of worm (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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