There are 2 main definitions of worm in English:

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worm 1

Pronunciation: /wərm/


1Any of a number of creeping or burrowing invertebrate animals with long, slender, soft bodies and no limbs.
Example sentences
  • For many years only animals such as worms, leeches and midge larvae could survive.
  • When feeding is completed, the worms drop to the ground and enter the soil where they transform into shiny brown pupae.
  • Hemp seed, sweet corn maggots and even worms can also be used.
1.1 short for earthworm.
Example sentences
  • ‘You can't just go out in your garden, dig up worms, and have them work,’ Appelhof said.
  • You should put worms on your hook to attract fish.
  • Frank helps me put a worm on my hook even though I can do it by myself.
1.2 (worms) Intestinal or other internal parasites.
Example sentences
  • Consuming contaminated meat can lead to diarrhoea, intestinal worms or food poisoning and is especially dangerous for the very young or very old.
  • Internal parasites - worms - are one of the major problems facing the beef and dairy industries in both the United States and Brazil.
  • Garlic also helps knock out intestinal worms and other parasites.
1.3Used in names of long, slender insect larvae, especially those in fruit or wood, e.g., army worm, woodworm.
Example sentences
  • They are known to eat cabbage moths, bollworms, tomato hornworms and broccoli worms.
  • Best baits are redworms, which can be trundled down to the fish in a natural manner, or alternatively often-overlooked baits such as caterpillars, wax worms, or mealworms.
  • I snacked on sticky rice cooked in bamboo, but there were more exotic treats such as crickets, bamboo worms and bee larvae available.
1.4Used in names of other animals that resemble worms in some way, e.g., slow-worm, shipworm.
Example sentences
  • The Slow-worm is probably the most commonly encountered British reptile.
  • Unlike the usual shipworm for this region, which bores only in the breeding season then swims away, the blacktip bores continuously throughout the year and remains in the same spot until the timbers completely disintegrate.
1.5A maggot supposed to eat buried corpses: food for worms
More example sentences
  • It is also clear that the process of decay was thought to be harmful to the dead, and the action of worms in the corpse were thought to be as painful as a needle to the living flesh.
  • You're born, you live, you die, you're worm food - that's all.
  • I think he is worm food as he died of lung cancer at the age of 71.
1.6 Computing A self-replicating program able to propagate itself across a network, typically having a detrimental effect.
Example sentences
  • This would help identify and flush out infiltrating viruses, worms, trojans and other malicious softwares.
  • Over the past year our virtual mailboxes have been swamped by spam, worms, and malignant viruses.
  • Unlike a virus, a worm generally does not alter or destroy data on a computer.
2 informal A weak or despicable person (used as a general term of contempt).
Example sentences
  • He threw one last glance in the direction she had gone before yelling ‘Come and get me, you worms!’
  • Is that the best you could manage, George, you impotent worm?
  • ‘You despicable little worm,’ he snarled as he stomped into the house one day.
3A helical device or component, in particular.
3.1The threaded cylinder in a worm gear.
Example sentences
  • But if a worm gear is to transmit mechanical power, it should be a metal worm having a thread angle of about thirty degrees.
  • The machine is suited for high precision, infeed and single-revolution, thread rolling, worm rolling and roll sizing.
  • In a preferred embodiment, a worm/worm gear assembly comprises a metal worm and a worm gear fabricated from a resilient material.
3.2The coiled pipe of a still in which the vapor is cooled and condensed.
Example sentences
  • The worm condensed the vapor into liquor, which was collected in containers and sold.
  • The worm was a coil that was immersed into cold water and it was there that the alcohol vapour condensed into liquid.
  • In distillation, the still is heated to just below the boiling point of water and the alcohol and other compounds vaporise and pass over the neck of the still into either a condenser or a worm - a large copper coil immersed in cold running water where the vapour is condensed into a liquid.


1 [no object] Move with difficulty by crawling or wriggling: I wormed my way along the roadside ditch
More example sentences
  • When it started to rain, we wormed into our bivy sacks, said good night, and pulled the drawstrings so tight that only our noses stuck out.
  • Is it really convincing that the man could have wormed out of the cells unnoticed?
  • I had previously considered it quite a pleasant bookstore to worm about in.
1.1 (worm one's way into) Insinuate one’s way into: the educated dealers may later worm their way into stockbroking
More example sentences
  • You managed to worm your way into Valerie's Thanksgiving, surely you can insinuate yourself into her Christmas as well.
  • And if, heaven forfend, that other guy worms his way into office again, we're really going to have to work together to defend the beloved republic.
  • The people that populate this list have wormed their way into our bad books just by being themselves.
1.2 [with object] Move (something) into a confined space by wriggling it: I wormed my right hand between my body and the earth
More example sentences
  • Through sheer luck she managed to worm a hand into the space between her wrist and her own bloodstained neck.
  • I wormed the knife between tiny slivers of green plastic to prise free the ring pull and used pliers to grasp the toggle on that pesky foil circle.
1.3 (worm something out of) Obtain information from (someone) by cunning persistence: I did manage to worm a few details out of him
More example sentences
  • For a while, they wouldn't even tell me how many digits were involved but I wormed the information out of them that there were three more.
  • If anyone tries to worm this information out of you, they will not get it.
  • Blanche wormed the details out of a very reluctant Stella with much coaxing and promising of new clothes.
2 [with object] Treat (an animal) with a preparation designed to expel parasitic worms.
Example sentences
  • If your kitten was wormed during his first visit, the vet will give him his second worming.
  • Your vet will need to administer the shots, but you can worm the dog yourself.
  • He's been wormed and treated for fleas and ticks.
3 [with object] Nautical , archaic Make (a rope) smooth by winding small cordage between the strands.
Example sentences
  • From each of the thinned strands take sufficient outside yarns to worm the rope and cut off the rest.


(even) a worm will turn

proverb (Even) a meek person will resist or retaliate if pushed too far.
Example sentences
  • On one level, Heathcliff's ‘writhing’ allusion is clearly to the proverbial truth that, given sufficient provocation, ‘even a worm will turn’.
  • You know a worm will turn if it is trodden on?
  • Lady Ushant was as meek as a worm, but a worm will turn.



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • Maunder explained that flea eggs, the worm-like larvae, are born in autumn and survive in nests around the household over winter.
  • Where the trunk meets the ground it frays out, and extends a few worm-like roots above the soil.
  • All are woven from these worm-like pieces of paper string and treated.


Old English wyrm (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Latin vermis 'worm' and Greek rhomox 'woodworm'.

  • In Old English worm was spelled wyrm or wurm. The first meaning was ‘serpent’ or ‘dragon’, a sense still occasionally found in dialect and preserved in folk tales such as ‘The Lambton Worm’. Worm came to mean ‘crawling animal, reptile, or insect’ and then, in about 1100, an earthworm or similar creature. In a can of worms the worms are probably maggots—think of a fisherman on a riverbank with his wriggling bait tin. The worm has turned means ‘a meek person has retaliated after being pushed too far’. The original form, in 1546, was ‘Tread a worm on the tail and it must turn again’.

Words that rhyme with worm

affirm, berm, confirm, firm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, term, therm
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There are 2 main definitions of worm in English:

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Pronunciation: /wərm/


Write-once read-many, denoting a type of computer memory device.
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