worm

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See also: Worm, WORM, and Wörm

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English worm, werm, wurm, wirm, from Old English wyrm (snake, worm), from Proto-Germanic *wurmiz (compare Dutch worm, West Frisian wjirm, German Wurm, Danish orm), from Proto-Indo-European *wr̥mis (compare Latin vermis (worm), Lithuanian var̃mas (insect, midge), Albanian rrime (rainworm), Ancient Greek ῥόμος (rhómos, woodworm)), possibly from *wer- (to turn). First computer usage by John Brunner in his 1975 book The Shockwave Rider.

Doublet of wyrm, which is a fairly recent borrowing directly from the Old English.

Pronunciation[edit]

A worm

Noun[edit]

worm (plural worms)

  1. A generally tubular invertebrate of the annelid phylum; an earthworm.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. […]’
  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.[1]
  4. (fantasy, science fiction) Either a mythical "dragon" (especially wingless),[2] a gigantic sea serpent, or a creature that resembles a Mongolian death worm.[3]
  5. A contemptible or devious being.
    Don't try to run away, you little worm!
  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.
    • Moxon
      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 28:3-4,[3]
      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,[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,[5]
      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.
  11. (mathematics) A strip of linked tiles sharing parallel edges in a tiling.

Usage notes[edit]

Although the use of the "worm" to mean "dragon" or "serpent" is archaic, those meanings are in current use in the word "wyrm" which is a doublet of "worm". Wyrm is a fairly recent borrowing directly from the Old English.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sea serpent at Wikipedia
  2. ^ Dragon (Middle-earth) at Wikipedia
  3. ^ Sandworm (Dune) at Wikipedia

Verb[edit]

worm (third-person singular simple present worms, present participle worming, simple 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 Joseph 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.
    • George Herbert (1593-1633)
      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.
    • Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)
      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). Often combined with expressions such as "It's like pulling teeth" or "It's like getting blood out of a stone".
    • Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
      They [] wormed things out of me that I had no desire to tell.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter XXII:
      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.
    • Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
      The men assisted the laird in his sporting parties, wormed his dogs, and cut the ears of his terrier puppies.
  10. (transitive) To clean by means of a worm; to draw a wad or cartridge from, as a firearm.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • [7] The Free Dictionary, Farlex Inc., 2010.

Anagrams[edit]


Cornish[edit]

Adjective[edit]

worm

  1. Soft mutation of gorm.

Dutch[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Dutch *wurm, *worm, from Proto-Germanic *wurmiz, from Proto-Indo-European *wr̥mis. Compare English worm, West Frisian wjirm, German Wurm, Danish orm.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

worm m (plural wormen, diminutive wormpje n)

  1. worm

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from English worm.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

worm m (plural worms)

  1. (computer security) worm (self-replicating program)