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  1. any of various flat or tapelike worms of the class Cestoidea, lacking an alimentary canal, and parasitic when adult in the alimentary canal of humans and other vertebrates: the larval and adult stages are usually in different hosts.

Origin of tapeworm

First recorded in 1745–55; tape + worm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tapeworm

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There is one which I have already mentioned, that is the tnia, or tapeworm.

  • These remedies have been used for tapeworm for almost 100 years.

  • This remedy for tapeworm has been recently introduced into Europe.

    The Human Race

    Louis Figuier

  • The natives take a decoction of kousso once a month as a cure for the tapeworm.

    The Human Race

    Louis Figuier

  • When treating patients for tapeworm I have repeatedly expelled the whipworm.


    T. Spencer Cobbold

British Dictionary definitions for tapeworm


  1. any parasitic ribbon-like flatworm of the class Cestoda, having a body divided into many egg-producing segments and lacking a mouth and gut. The adults inhabit the intestines of vertebratesSee also echinococcus, taenia
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

Word Origin and History for tapeworm


1752, from tape (n.) + worm (n.); so called for its flat, ribbon-like shape.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tapeworm in Medicine


  1. Any of various ribbonlike, often very long flatworms of the class Cestoda, that lack an alimentary canal and are intestinal parasites in humans.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tapeworm in Science


  1. See cestode.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

tapeworm in Culture


A worm with a long, flat body that can live in the human intestines as a parasite. Infestation with a tapeworm usually occurs as the result of eating raw meat or fish that contains the immature form of the worm.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.