- a tune or part of a song that repeats in one’s mind.
- to work (itself or its way) into a person’s mind: The Pepsi jingles have earwormed their way into my head.
Origin of earworm2
1980–85; loan translation of German Ohrwurm ‘catchy tune, earwig’
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for earworm
“Cups” has had the unlikeliest of journeys to summer earworm.10 ‘Song of the Summer’ Contenders From Daft Punk to Ciara (VIDEO)
July 5, 2013
But in the 1990s, the English word "earworm" gained the meaning "a song or melody that keeps repeating in one's mind."
The newer sense of "earworm" is actually influenced by the German word for this phenomenon—a word that translates to "earworm."
"Earworm" has been around for quite some time to refer to a pest that burrows into the ears of corn.
- informal an irritatingly catchy tune
C20: from German Ohrwurm earwig
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012