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 offinally 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

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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 doctors extracted some of the worms and identified them as the common liver fluke Fasciola hepatica. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Watch this beautifully disgusting liver fluke parasite explore man’s innards," 8 Nov. 2019 This year alone, Crowther's lab has helped produce the first-ever global distribution maps of soil-dwelling fungal groups and of tiny worms called nematodes, both in Nature, and a global map of earthworm distribution, in this issue of Science. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Catchy findings have propelled this young ecologist to fame—and enraged his critics," 24 Oct. 2019 When injured, the birds have to be hand fed lots of worms. Amanda Watts, CNN, "Over 300 migrating birds smashed into Charlotte's NASCAR building," 16 Oct. 2019 Though nearly blind, a mole is perfectly adapted, with large forepaws and a keen sense of smell, to tunnel its way through earth, in search of worms. Timothy R. Smith, Washington Post, "Life lessons from a mole — and the man who made a living catching them," 14 Oct. 2019 The majority of worms, also known as nematodes, generally break down into males and hermaphrodites. Fox News, "Worm with three sexes that carries its offspring like a kangaroo discovered," 27 Sep. 2019 The browning grass looks like damage of white grub worms. Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "Pecans failing to mature a sign that spraying is needed," 26 Sep. 2019 Anna Phillips, the museum's curator of parasitic worms, led the team that made the discovery. oregonlive, "New species of bloodsucking leech with 3 jaws, 59 teeth found in Maryland," 2 Sep. 2019 Your Content is not technically harmful (including, without limitation, viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software, harmful data or conduct). Harper's BAZAAR, "Reader Submission Terms and Community Guidelines," 13 Jan. 2015 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The shocking pervasiveness suggested that rather than being transmitted from animal to animal like the flu, the virus had wormed its way into the koalas’ sperm and egg cells and was being passed down from parent to child just like any other gene. Quanta Magazine, "Killer Virus Is Invading Koala DNA," 4 Mar. 2015 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

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

17 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce worm (audio)

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
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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