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Dictionary


worm



Pronunciation: (wûrm), [key]
n.
1. Zool.any of numerous long, slender, soft-bodied, legless, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates, including the flatworms, roundworms, acanthocephalans, nemerteans, gordiaceans, and annelids.
2. (loosely) any of numerous small creeping animals with more or less slender, elongated bodies, and without limbs or with very short ones, including individuals of widely differing kinds, as earthworms, tapeworms, insect larvae, and adult forms of some insects.
3. something resembling or suggesting a worm in appearance, movement, etc.
4. Informal.a groveling, abject, or contemptible person.
5. the spiral pipe in which the vapor is condensed in a still.
6. (not in technical use) See screw thread (def. 1).
7. See screw conveyor.
8. a rotating cylinder or shaft, cut with one or more helical threads, that engages with and drives a worm wheel.
9. something that penetrates, injures, or consumes slowly or insidiously, like a gnawing worm.
10. worms, (used with a sing. v.) Pathol., Vet. Pathol.any disease or disorder arising from the presence of parasitic worms in the intestines or other tissues; helminthiasis.
11. (used with a pl. v.) Metall.irregularities visible on the surfaces of some metals subject to plastic deformation.
12. the lytta of a dog or other carnivorous animal.
13. computer code planted illegally in a software program so as to destroy data in any system that downloads the program, as by reformatting the hard disk.

v.i.
1. to move or act like a worm; creep, crawl, or advance slowly or stealthily.
2. to achieve something by insidious procedure (usually fol. by into): to worm into another's favor.
3. Metall.craze (def. 8a).

v.t.
1. to cause to move or advance in a devious or stealthy manner: The thief wormed his hand into my coat pocket.
2. to get by persistent, insidious efforts (usually fol. by out or from): to worm a secret out of a person.
3. to insinuate (oneself or one's way) into another's favor, confidence, etc.: to worm his way into the king's favor.
4. to free from worms: He wormed the puppies.
5. Naut.to wind yarn or the like spirally round (a rope) so as to fill the spaces between the strands and render the surface smooth.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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