1 : a hole or passage burrowed by a worm
2 : a hypothetical structure of space-time envisioned as a long thin tunnel connecting points that are separated in space and time
Did You Know?
If you associate wormhole with quantum physics and sci-fi, you'll probably be surprised to learn that the word has been around since Shakespeare's day—although, admittedly, he used it more literally than most modern writers. To Shakespeare, a wormhole was simply a hole made by a worm, a more down-to-earth sense which is still used today. But even the Bard subtly linked wormholes to the passage of time; for example, in The Rape of Lucrece, he notes time's destructive power "to fill with worm-holes stately monuments." To modern astrophysicists, a wormhole isn't a tunnel wrought by a slimy invertebrate but a theoretical tunnel between two black holes or other points in space-time, providing a shortcut between its end points.
Some science fiction writers speculate that wormholes will become the intergalactic highways of the future.
"Sci-fi fans who hope humanity can one day zoom to distant corners of the universe via wormholes, as astronauts do in the recent film 'Interstellar,' shouldn't hold their breath." — Mike Wall, Space.com, 24 Nov. 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What word beginning with "h" is the name for a fictional space where extraordinary events, such as traveling faster than the speed of light, are believed to happen?VIEW THE ANSWER
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