worm

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

worm / wərm/ • n. 1. any of a number of creeping or burrowing invertebrate animals with long, slender, soft bodies and no limbs. • Phyla Annelida (segmented worms), Nematoda (roundworms), and Platyhelminthes (flatworms), and up to twelve minor phyla. ∎  short for earthworm. ∎  (worms) intestinal or other internal parasites. ∎  used in names of long, slender insect larvae, esp. those in fruit or wood, e.g., army worm, woodworm. ∎  used in names of other animals that resemble worms in some way, e.g., slow-worm, shipworm. ∎  a maggot supposed to eat buried corpses: food for worms. ∎  Comput. a self-replicating program able to propagate itself across a network, typically having a detrimental effect. 2. inf. a weak or despicable person (used as a general term of contempt). 3. a helical device or component, in particular: ∎  the threaded cylinder in a worm gear. ∎  the coiled pipe of a still in which the vapor is cooled and condensed. • v. 1. [intr.] move with difficulty by crawling or wriggling: I wormed my way along the roadside ditch. ∎  (worm one's way into) insinuate one's way into: the educated dealers may later worm their way into stockbroking. ∎  [tr.] move (something) into a confined space by wriggling it: I wormed my right hand between my body and the earth. ∎  (worm something out of) obtain information from (someone) by cunning persistence: I did manage to worm a few details out of him. 2. [tr.] treat (an animal) with a preparation designed to expel parasitic worms. 3. [tr.] archaic Naut. make (a rope) smooth by winding small cordage between the strands. DERIVATIVES: worm·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.

views updated

WORM

The word tola'at or tole'ah is employed in the Bible and the Talmud both for destructive caterpillars and for the rainworm; sometimes the combination rimmah ve-tole'ah (= maggots and worms) occurs. One of the curses in the commination of the Bible is that "the worm" shall eat the vines (Deut. 28:39). The Talmud (Ḥul. 67b) speaks of "the worm in the roots of the vines," referring to the beetle Schistocerus. The worm which smote Jonah's kikayon (Jonah 4:7) was presumably the caterpillar of a beetle of the genus Capnodis or Cerambyx. The Midrash states that "this worm makes the tree barren" (Mid. to Ps. 22:7). The worms that caused the manna to rot (Ex. 16:20) were fruit-fly maggots. In the Bible rimmah ve-tole'ah symbolizes the decomposition of the body after death (Isa. 14:11; Job 21:26), since these feed upon the decaying corpse. Man is compared to them because of his end and his frailty (Isa. 41:14; Job 25:6). They are the maggots of the carrion flies Lucilia and apparently also the rainworm Lumbricus, found in large quantities in soil rich in rotting organic material. This last is called shilshul in rabbinic literature (rh 24b) and in modern Israel.

bibliography:

J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 129, 139. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 283.

[Jehuda Feliks]

views updated

worm in archaic use, a serpent, snake, or dragon. Recorded from Old English (in form wyrm) the word originally also meant any animal which creeps or crawls, a reptile or insect.

The current meaning of an earthworm or similar invertebrate animal with a long slender soft body also dates from Old English, and gives rise to the allusive uses of worm as the type of weakness, humility, or nakedness.

Worm has also been used from Old English for a maggot, or in popular belief, an earthworm, supposed to eat dead bodies in the grave; in biblical allusion, this becomes one of the pains of hell, as in Mark 9:48.
even a worm will turn proverbial saying, mid 16th century, meaning that even a meek person will resist or retaliate if pushed too far.

See also the early bird catches the worm.

views updated

worm (or WORM) Acronym for write once, read many (times).
1. A class of storage device in which information, once written, cannot be erased or overwritten. The write-once CD-ROM is an example. See optical storage.

2. A virus-like program that seeks out other connected hosts in a computer network and, by exploiting a vulnerability, transfers itself to them.

views updated

wormaffirm, berm, confirm, firm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, term, therm, worm •pachyderm • echinoderm •wheatgerm • endosperm •gymnosperm • isogeotherm •ragworm • flatworm • threadworm •tapeworm •eelworm, mealworm •silkworm • ringworm • inchworm •blindworm • lobworm • roundworm •slow-worm • screw worm •woodworm •bookworm, hookworm •bloodworm • lugworm • lungworm •earthworm

views updated

worm (arch.) serpent, dragon; †reptile; creeping limbless invertebrate; endoparasitic helminth; larva of insect, maggot OE.; spiral tool, etc. XVI. OE. wyrm, later wurm, corr. to OS., (O)HG. wurm (Du. worm), ON. ormr serpent, Goth. waurms :- Gmc. *wurmiz and *wurmaz, rel. to L. vermis worm. Gr. rhómos, rhómox woodworm, Lith. vařmas insect, midge.
Hence vb. hunt worms; get rid of, make one's way, etc. by subtle means XVI. Comps. worm-eaten XIV, worm-hole XVI.

views updated

worm Any of a large variety of wriggling, limbless creatures with soft bodies. Most worms belong to one or other of four main groups: annelids, flatworms, nematodes (roundworms), and ribbon worms.

views updated

WORM / wərm/ • abbr. write-once read-many, denoting a type of computer memory device.

views updated

worm (werm) n. any of various soft-bodied legless animals, including flatworms, nematode worms, earthworms, and leeches.

views updated

WORM (or worm) (wʔːm) Computing write once, read many (times)