A cylinder, or a cylindrical perforation, having a continuous rib, called the thread, winding round it spirally at a constant inclination, so as to leave a continuous spiral groove between one turn and the next, -- used chiefly for producing, when revolved, motion or pressure in the direction of its axis, by the sliding of the threads of the cylinder in the grooves between the threads of the perforation adapted to it, the former being distinguished as the external, or male screw, or, more usually the screw; the latter as the internal, or female screw, or, more usually, the nut. [1913 Webster] Note: The screw, as a mechanical power, is a modification of the inclined plane, and may be regarded as a right-angled triangle wrapped round a cylinder, the hypotenuse of the marking the spiral thread of the screw, its base equaling the circumference of the cylinder, and its height the pitch of the thread. [1913 Webster]
Specifically, a kind of nail with a spiral thread and a head with a nick to receive the end of the screw-driver. Screws are much used to hold together pieces of wood or to fasten something; -- called also wood screws, and screw nails. See also Screw bolt, below. [1913 Webster]
Anything shaped or acting like a screw; esp., a form of wheel for propelling steam vessels. It is placed at the stern, and furnished with blades having helicoidal surfaces to act against the water in the manner of a screw. See Screw propeller, below. [1913 Webster]
A steam vesel propelled by a screw instead of wheels; a screw steamer; a propeller. [1913 Webster]
An extortioner; a sharp bargainer; a skinflint; a niggard. --Thackeray. [1913 Webster]
An instructor who examines with great or unnecessary severity; also, a searching or strict examination of a student by an instructor. [Cant, American Colleges] [1913 Webster]
A small packet of tobacco. [Slang] --Mayhew. [1913 Webster]
An unsound or worn-out horse, useful as a hack, and commonly of good appearance. --Ld. Lytton. [1913 Webster]
(Math.) A straight line in space with which a definite linear magnitude termed the pitch is associated (cf. 5th Pitch, 10 (b) ). It is used to express the displacement of a rigid body, which may always be made to consist of a rotation about an axis combined with a translation parallel to that axis. [1913 Webster]
(Zool.) An amphipod crustacean; as, the skeleton screw (Caprella). See Sand screw, under Sand. [1913 Webster] Archimedes screw, Compound screw, Foot screw, etc. See under Archimedes, Compound, Foot, etc. A screw loose, something out of order, so that work is not done smoothly; as, there is a screw loose somewhere. --H. Martineau. Endless screw, or perpetual screw, a screw used to give motion to a toothed wheel by the action of its threads between the teeth of the wheel; -- called also a worm. Lag screw. See under Lag. Micrometer screw, a screw with fine threads, used for the measurement of very small spaces. Right and left screw, a screw having threads upon the opposite ends which wind in opposite directions. Screw alley. See Shaft alley, under Shaft. Screw bean. (Bot.) (a) The curious spirally coiled pod of a leguminous tree (Prosopis pubescens) growing from Texas to California. It is used for fodder, and ground into meal by the Indians. (b) The tree itself. Its heavy hard wood is used for fuel, for fencing, and for railroad ties. Screw bolt, a bolt having a screw thread on its shank, in distinction from a key bolt. See 1st Bolt,
Screw box, a device, resembling a die, for cutting the thread on a wooden screw. Screw dock. See under Dock. Screw engine, a marine engine for driving a screw propeller. Screw gear. See Spiral gear, under Spiral. Screw jack. Same as Jackscrew. Screw key, a wrench for turning a screw or nut; a spanner wrench. Screw machine. (a) One of a series of machines employed in the manufacture of wood screws. (b) A machine tool resembling a lathe, having a number of cutting tools that can be caused to act on the work successively, for making screws and other turned pieces from metal rods. Screw pine (Bot.), any plant of the endogenous genus Pandanus, of which there are about fifty species, natives of tropical lands from Africa to Polynesia; -- named from the spiral arrangement of the pineapple-like leaves. Screw plate, a device for cutting threads on small screws, consisting of a thin steel plate having a series of perforations with internal screws forming dies. Screw press, a press in which pressure is exerted by means of a screw. Screw propeller, a screw or spiral bladed wheel, used in the propulsion of steam vessels; also, a steam vessel propelled by a screw. Screw shell (Zool.), a long, slender, spiral gastropod shell, especially of the genus Turritella and allied genera. See Turritella. Screw steamer, a steamship propelled by a screw. Screw thread, the spiral rib which forms a screw. Screw stone (Paleon.), the fossil stem of an encrinite. Screw tree (Bot.), any plant of the genus Helicteres, consisting of about thirty species of tropical shrubs, with simple leaves and spirally twisted, five-celled capsules; -- also called twisted-horn, and twisty. Screw valve, a stop valve which is opened or closed by a screw. Screw worm (Zool.), the larva of an American fly (Compsomyia macellaria), allied to the blowflies, which sometimes deposits its eggs in the nostrils, or about wounds, in man and other animals, with fatal results. Screw wrench. (a) A wrench for turning a screw. (b) A wrench with an adjustable jaw that is moved by a screw. To put the screws on or To put the screw on, to use pressure upon, as for the purpose of extortion; to coerce. To put under the screw or To put under the screws, to subject to pressure; to force. Wood screw, a metal screw with a sharp thread of coarse pitch, adapted to holding fast in wood. See Illust. of Wood screw, under Wood. [1913 Webster]
Worm \Worm\, v. t.
To effect, remove, drive, draw, or the like, by slow and secret means; -- often followed by out. [1913 Webster] They find themselves wormed out of all power. --Swift. [1913 Webster] They . . . wormed things out of me that I had no desire to tell. --Dickens. [1913 Webster]
To clean by means of a worm; to draw a wad or cartridge from, as a firearm. See Worm, n. 5 (b) . [1913 Webster]
To cut the worm, or lytta, from under the tongue of, as a dog, for the purpose of checking a disposition to gnaw. The operation was formerly supposed to guard against canine madness. [1913 Webster] The men assisted the laird in his sporting parties, wormed his dogs, and cut the ears of his terrier puppies. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster]
(Naut.) To wind rope, yarn, or other material, spirally round, between the strands of, as a cable; to wind with spun yarn, as a small rope. [1913 Webster] Ropes . . . are generally wormed before they are served. --Totten. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] To worm one's self into, to enter into gradually by arts and insinuations; as, to worm one's self into favor. [1913 Webster]
Worm \Worm\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Wormed; p. pr. & vb. n. Worming.] To work slowly, gradually, and secretly. [1913 Webster] When debates and fretting jealousy Did worm and work within you more and more, Your color faded. --Herbert. [1913 Webster]
Worm \Worm\ (w[^u]rm), n. [OE. worm, wurm, AS. wyrm; akin to D. worm, OS. & G. wurm, Icel. ormr, Sw. & Dan. orm, Goth. wa['u]rms, L. vermis, Gr. ? a wood worm. Cf. Vermicelli, Vermilion, Vermin.] [1913 Webster]
A creeping or a crawling animal of any kind or size, as a serpent, caterpillar, snail, or the like. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] There came a viper out of the heat, and leapt on his hand. When the men of the country saw the worm hang on his hand, they said, This man must needs be a murderer. --Tyndale (Acts xxviii. 3, 4). [1913 Webster] 'T is slander, Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue Outvenoms all the worms of Nile. --Shak. [1913 Webster] When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm, His mouth he opened and displayed his tusks. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster]
Any small creeping animal or reptile, either entirely without feet, or with very short ones, including a great variety of animals; as, an earthworm; the blindworm. Specifically: (Zool.) (a) Any helminth; an entozoon. (b) Any annelid. (c) An insect larva. (d) pl. Same as Vermes. [1913 Webster]
An internal tormentor; something that gnaws or afflicts one's mind with remorse. [1913 Webster] The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul! --Shak. [1913 Webster]
A being debased and despised. [1913 Webster] I am a worm, and no man. --Ps. xxii.
Anything spiral, vermiculated, or resembling a worm; as: (a) The thread of a screw. [1913 Webster] The threads of screws, when bigger than can be made in screw plates, are called worms. --Moxon. [1913 Webster] (b) A spiral instrument or screw, often like a double corkscrew, used for drawing balls from firearms. (c) (Anat.) A certain muscular band in the tongue of some animals, as the dog; the lytta. See Lytta. (d) The condensing tube of a still, often curved and wound to economize space. See Illust. of Still. (e) (Mach.) A short revolving screw, the threads of which drive, or are driven by, a worm wheel by gearing into its teeth or cogs. See Illust. of Worm gearing, below. [1913 Webster] Worm abscess (Med.), an abscess produced by the irritation resulting from the lodgment of a worm in some part of the body. Worm fence. See under Fence. Worm gear. (Mach.) (a) A worm wheel. (b) Worm gearing. Worm gearing, gearing consisting of a worm and worm wheel working together. Worm grass. (Bot.) (a) See Pinkroot, 2 (a) . (b) The white stonecrop (Sedum album) reputed to have qualities as a vermifuge. --Dr. Prior. Worm oil (Med.), an anthelmintic consisting of oil obtained from the seeds of Chenopodium anthelminticum. Worm powder (Med.), an anthelmintic powder. Worm snake. (Zool.) See Thunder snake (b), under Thunder. Worm tea (Med.), an anthelmintic tea or tisane. Worm tincture (Med.), a tincture prepared from dried earthworms, oil of tartar, spirit of wine, etc. [Obs.] Worm wheel, a cogwheel having teeth formed to fit into the spiral spaces of a screw called a worm, so that the wheel may be turned by, or may turn, the worm; -- called also worm gear, and sometimes tangent wheel. See Illust. of Worm gearing, above. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster]
1 any of numerous relatively small elongated soft-bodied animals especially of the phyla Annelida and Chaetognatha and Nematoda and Nemertea and Platyhelminthes; also many insect larvae
2 a person who has a nasty or unethical character undeserving of respect [syn: louse, insect, dirt ball]
3 a software program capable of reproducing itself that can spread from one computer to the next over a network; "worms take advantage of automatic file sending and receiving features found on many computers"
4 screw thread on a gear with the teeth of a worm wheel or rack v : to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling); "The prisoner writhed in discomfort"; "The child tried to wriggle free from his aunt's embrace" [syn: writhe, wrestle, wriggle, squirm, twist]
Moby Thesaurusamble, angleworm, animal, armyworm, beast, blast, blight, blighter, bollworm, bookworm, cancer, canker, claudicate, contort, corkscrew, cotton worm, crawl, creep, crinkle, cur, dog, dogtrot, drag, drag along, drag out, dry rot, earthworm, earworm, edge in, fireworm, fishworm, foist, fungus, go dead slow, go on tiptoe, go slow, grovel, gumshoe, helminth, hobble, hound, hyena, idle, inch, inch along, inchworm, infiltrate, insect, intort, jog-trot, laze, leech, limp, looper, lowlife, meander, measuring worm, mildew, mold, mongrel, mosey, moth, moth and rust, mucker, must, nematode, night crawler, nightwalk, nightwalker, no-good, pad, pest, pig, poke, poke along, polecat, prowl, pussyfoot, reptile, rot, rust, saunter, scallop, scrabble, scramble, screw, serpent, serpentine, shuffle along, sidle, silkworm, skunk, slink, smut, snake, sneak, squiggle, squirm, stagger along, steal, steal along, stroll, swine, swirl, tapeworm, tippytoe, tiptoe, toddle, toddle along, totter along, traipse, turn, tussah, twine, twirl, twist, twist and turn, varmint, vermin, viper, waddle, walk, webworm, whelp, whirl, whorl, wiggle, wind, wireworm, woodworm, work in, worm along, wring, writhe
AcronymsWORM Write Once Read Many (CD)
EtymologyFrom worm, from wyrm, serpent, dragon, worm, from *wurmiz, from *wrmi-, *wrmo-, serpent, scorpion, maggot, worm, possibly from Proto-Indo-European base *wer-, to turn
- A generally tubular invertebrate of the annelid phylum.
- A contemptible
or devious being.
- Don't try to run away, you little worm!
- A self-replicating program that propagates widely through a network.
- A graphical representation of the total runs scored in an innings.
- Anything helical, especially the thread of a screw.
- A dragon or mythological serpent.
- An internal
that gnaws or afflicts one's mind with
- The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul! — Richard III, William Shakespeare
- Arabic: دُودَة (dúːda) , دُودٌ (duːd) p, دِيدَان (didáːn) p
- Bosnian: crv
- Bulgarian: червей
- Catalan: cuc
- Chinese: 蟲 (chóng)
- Croatian: crv
- Czech: červ
- Dutch: worm, pier
- Erzya: сукс (suks)
- Estonian: uss
- Finnish: mato
- French: ver
- German: Wurm
- Greek: σκώληξ
- Hebrew: תולע (tolah)
- Hungarian: kukac
- Indonesian: cacing
- Italian: verme
- Japanese: 虫 (むし, mushí), 虫螻 (むしけら, mushikera)
- Korean: 벌레 (beolle)
- Kurdish: کرم
- Latin: vermis
- Latvian tārps
- Lithuanian: kirmėlė ; kirminas (also means insect larvae)
- Maori: noke, toke
- Occitan vèrm
- Ojibwe: moose
- Polish: robak
- Portuguese: verme
- Romanian: vierme
- Russian: червь, черви
- Serbian: crv, glista
- Slovene: črv
- Spanish: gusano, lombriz
- Swedish: mask
- Tamil: புழு (pulu)
- Telugu: పురుగు (purugu)
- Thai: (nááwn)
- Turkish: kurt
- Arabic: (šáχʂun dániʔ)
- Bosnian: crv
- Bulgarian: негодник (negodnik) , жалко същество (žalko säštestvo)
- Croatian: crv
- Czech: ubožák
- Dutch: worm
- Finnish: luihu
- French: vermine, scarabée
- German: elender Wurm
- Hebrew: נבזה (nivzeh)
- Italian: miserabile
- Korean: (figurative) 버러지 (beoreoji), 짐승 (jimseung)
- Occitan vèrm
- Portuguese: miserável, patife
- Russian: стерва (stérva) m|f, негодяй (negodjáj) , негодяйка (negodjájka)
- Spanish: gusano
- Swedish: stackare , kräk
- Ukrainian: негідник (nehidnik)
- Bosnian: crv
- Croatian: crv
- Dutch: worm
- Finnish: mato
- French: ver
- German: Wurm
- Italian: verme
something helical, especially the thread of a screw
dragon or mythological serpent
- To move with one's body
dragging the ground.
- We wormed our way through the underbrush.
- intransitive figuratively To get (into) in a devious way.
- intransitive 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.
to move with one's body dragging the ground
- Dutch: zich wurmen
- Finnish: madella
- French: ramper
to get (into) in a devious way
- Dutch: zich wurmen
to work through something slowly or gradually
- Dutch: zich wurmen
- the early bird catches the worm
- fishing worm
A worm is an elongated, soft-bodied, land-dwelling invertebrate. Worm is a common name for various species that belong to different clades of animals--that is they are unrelated to each other. Animals which are commonly called worms include species of annelids, insects (their immature larva stage), and flatworms. Many marine and freshwater species, which are usually seen only by professional biologists, are recognized as "worms". Worms commonly are seen on the sidewalk after a rainstorm, and often die of drying out or being trampled on by humans.
Distribution and habitat
- Acanthocephala (spiny-headed worms)
- Ancylostoma (hook worms)
- Annelida (segmented worms)
- Cestoda (tapeworm)
- Chaetognatha (arrow worms)
- Ectoprocta (goblet worms)
- Gnathostomulid (jaw worms)
- Hemichordata (acorn/tongue worms)
- Kinorhyncha (spiny-crown worms)
- Nematoda (roundworms)
- Nematomorpha (horsehair worms)
- Nemertea (ribbonworms)
- Onychophora (velvet worms)
- Phoronida (horseshoe worms)
- Platyhelminthes (flatworms)
- Priapulida (phallus worms)
- Sipuncula (peanut worms)
The most common worm is the earthworm, a member of phylum Annelida. Earthworms in general have been around for 120 million years, evolving during the time of the dinosaurs. They enrich and aerate the soil; Charles Darwin found that worms turn over the top six inches (15 cm) of topsoil every 20 years. They lack a brain but have nerve centers (called ganglia); they also lack eyes but can sense light with photoreceptors. Worms are hermaphrodites (both sexes in one animal) but can cross fertilize.
Other invertebrate groups may be called worms, especially colloquially. In particular, many unrelated insect larvae are called "worms", such as the railroad worm, woodworm, glowworm, bloodworm, or silkworm.
Worms may also be called helminths, particularly in medical terminology when referring to parasitic worms, especially the Nematoda (roundworms) and Cestoda (tapeworms). Hence "helminthology" is the study of parasitic worms. When an animal, such as a dog, is said to "have worms", it means that it is infested with parasitic worms, typically roundworms or tapeworms.
"Ringworm" is not a worm at all, but a skin fungus.
CharacteristicsWorms usually have a cylindrical, flattened, or leaf-like body shape and are often without any true limbs or appendages. Instead, they may have bristles or fins that help them move. Many worms have sense organs that can detect environmental change. A few may even have light-sensing organs. Worms vary in size from less than 1 mm (0.04 inch) in certain aschelminths to more than 30 m (100 feet) in certain ribbon worms.
Some worms reproduce sexually. Hermaphroditism, the condition in which a single individual possesses both male and female reproductive parts, is common in many groups of worms. Asexual reproduction, whereby new individuals develop from the body cells of another, also occurs in some worms.
Worm species differ in their abilities to move about on their own. Many species have bodies with no major muscles, and cannot move on their own — they must be moved by forces or other animals in their environment. Many other species have bodies with major muscles and can move on their own; they are a type of muscular hydrostat. Many species of worms are decomposers; they break down dead plants and animals to return nutrients to the soil.
worm in Guarani: Yso
worm in Aymara: Laq'u
worm in Bulgarian: Червей
worm in Catalan: Cuc
worm in Czech: Červ
worm in Welsh: Llyngyren
worm in Danish: Orm
worm in German: Würmer
worm in Estonian: Ussid
worm in Modern Greek (1453-): Σκουλήκι
worm in Spanish: Gusano
worm in Esperanto: Vermo
worm in Basque: Har
worm in French: Ver
worm in Scottish Gaelic: Cnuimh
worm in Galician: Verme
worm in Croatian: Crvi
worm in Inuktitut: ᖁᐱᓪᕈᖅ/qupilruq
worm in Italian: Verme
worm in Hebrew: תולעים
worm in Pampanga: Bulati
worm in Cornish: Pryv
worm in Latin: Vermes
worm in Lithuanian: Kirmėlė
worm in Malay (macrolanguage): Cacing
worm in Dutch: Worm (dieren)
worm in Norwegian: Makk
worm in Norwegian Nynorsk: Makk
worm in Occitan (post 1500): Vèrm
worm in Polish: Robaki
worm in Portuguese: Verme
worm in Romanian: Vierme
worm in Quechua: Kuru
worm in Simple English: Worm
worm in Turkish: Solucan
worm in Ukrainian: Черви
worm in Yiddish: וואָרעם
worm in Chinese: 蠕虫