Pronunciation Noun

worm (plural worms)

  1. A generally tubular invertebrate of the annelid phylum; an earthworm.
  2. More loosely, any of various tubular invertebrates resembling annelids but not closely related to them, such as velvet worms, acorn worms, flatworms, or roundworms.
  3. (archaic) A type of wingless "dragon", especially a gigantic sea serpent.
  4. (fantasy, science fiction) Either a mythical "dragon" (especially wingless), a gigantic sea serpent, or a creature that resembles a Mongolian death worm.
  5. A contemptible or devious being.
    Don't try to run away, you little worm!
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Psalms 22:6,
      But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
  6. (computing) A self-replicating program that propagates through a network.
  7. (cricket) A graphical representation of the total runs scored in an innings.
  8. Anything helical, especially the thread of a screw.
    • The threads of screws, when bigger than can be made in screw plates, are called worms.
    1. A spiral instrument or screw, often like a double corkscrew, used for drawing balls from firearms.
    2. The spiral wire of a corkscrew.
    3. (anatomy) A muscular band in the tongue of some animals, such as dogs; the lytta.
    4. The condensing tube of a still, often curved and wound to save space.
    5. A short revolving screw whose threads drive, or are driven by, a worm wheel or rack by gearing into its teeth.
  9. (obsolete) Any creeping or crawling animal, such as a snake, snail, or caterpillar.
    • 1561, Geneva Bible, Acts of the Apostles 28:3-4,
      And when Paul had gathered a nomber of stickes, & laid them on the fyre, there came a viper out of the heat, and leapt on his hand. Now when the Barbarians sawe the worme hang on his hand, they said among them selues This man surely is a murtherer, whome, thogh he hathe escaped the sea, yet Vengeance hathe not suffred to liue.
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act III, Scene 4,
      […] No, ’tis slander,
      Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
      Outvenoms all the worms of Nile […]
    • 1867, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (translator), The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, Volume I, Inferno, Canto 6, lines 22-24, p. 35,
      When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm!
      His mouth he opened and displayed his tusks;
      Not a limb had he that was motionless.
  10. (figuratively) An internal tormentor; something that gnaws or afflicts one’s mind with remorse.
    • c. 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III (play), Act I, Scene 3,
      The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
  11. (math) A strip of linked tiles sharing parallel edges in a tiling.
  12. (anatomy) The lytta.
  13. A dance, or dance move, in which the dancer lies on the floor and undulates the body horizontally thereby moving forwards.
Translations Translations Translations
  • French: ver
  • German: Wurm
  • Italian: verme
  • Portuguese: worm
  • Russian: червь
Translations Translations Translations Verb

worm (worms, present participle worming; past and past participle wormed)

  1. (transitive) To make (one's way) with a crawling motion.
    We wormed our way through the underbrush.
  2. (intransitive) To move with one's body dragging the ground.
    • 1919, William J. Long, How animals talk: and other pleasant studies of birds and beast
      Inch by inch I wormed along the secret passageway, flat to the ground, not once raising my head, hardly daring to pull a full breath […].
  3. (intransitive, figuratively) To work one's way by artful or devious means.
    • When debates and fretting jealousy / Did worm and work within you more and more, / Your colour faded.
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To work (one's way or oneself) (into) gradually or slowly; to insinuate.
    He wormed his way into the organization
  5. To effect, remove, drive, draw, or the like, by slow and secret means; often followed by out.
    • 1731, Jonathan Swift, The Presbyterians Plea of Merit
      They […] find themselves wormed out of all power.
  6. (transitive, figuratively, in “worm out of”) To drag out of, to get information that someone is reluctant or unwilling to give (through artful or devious means or by pleading or asking repeatedly).
    • 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, chapter 17, in The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, […], published 1850, OCLC 558196156 ↗:
      They […] wormed things out of me that I had no desire to tell.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter XXII, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546 ↗; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., […], [1933], OCLC 2666860 ↗, page 1738 ↗:
      He nodded. "Mum's the word, Mrs. Bunting! It'll all be in the last editions of the evening newspapers—it can't be kep' out. There'd be too much of a row if twas!" ¶ "Are you going off to that public-house now?" she asked. ¶ "I've got a awk'ard job—to try and worm something out of the barmaid."
  7. (transitive, nautical) To fill in the contlines of (a rope) before parcelling and serving.
    Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way.
  8. (transitive) To deworm (an animal).
  9. (transitive) To cut the worm, or lytta, from under the tongue of (a dog, etc.) for the purpose of checking a disposition to gnaw, and formerly supposed to guard against canine madness.
    • 1815 February 23, [Walter Scott], Guy Mannering; or, The Astrologer. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, […]; and Archibald Constable and Co., […], OCLC 742335644 ↗:
  10. (transitive) To clean by means of a worm; to draw a wad or cartridge from, as a firearm.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: (informal) tirer les vers du nez
  • German: einem alles aus der Nase ziehen, etwas aus der Nase ziehen, Würmer aus der Nase ziehen

worm (plural worms)

  1. (computing) Write once read many (or read multiple), with regards to a disc medium. See write once.

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