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Words nearby bookworm
What does bookworm mean?
A bookworm is someone who’s always reading, usually because they just love to read or because they’re studying or both.
Bookworm is sometimes used negatively to make fun of people who love to read. But it is more commonly used in a positive way, especially by book lovers proudly calling themselves bookworms. Bookworm can also be used literally as a general name for any insect that eats books.
Example: Bookworms usually have huge vocabularies, so be careful when you play one in Scrabble.
Where does bookworm come from?
The first records of the word bookworm come from the late 1500s. The word was first used to refer to people who read a lot, often as an insult. For example, in a work by English playwright and poet Ben Jonson, a book-worme (as he spelled it) is described as a candle-waster, presumably implying that the person reads so much that they end up reading by candlelight and “wasting” candles just to read.
Only later was bookworm used in reference to insects that eat books. For the record, not all worms are insects, but some are, including the booklouse, which is a wingless insect that often lives among books and papers and is known to feed on the binding paste used to hold some books together.
Interestingly, the eating metaphor is also used in other terms for people who read a lot. One such term is bibliophage, which literally means “someone who devours books” (it can also be used as a name for an insect that eats books, though that’s rare). Similarly, bookworms are sometimes called voracious readers (voracious can be mean either “eating a lot” or “very enthusiastic”). They are also called avid readers or bibliophiles (literally, “people who love books”). Bookworms usually love books, though sometimes people are simply called bookworms because they read a lot to study, as in She’s a bookworm—she always has her nose in a textbook. Such descriptions can be negative, but bookworm is most often used positively, especially as a self-applied label that bookworms use to identify themselves to other bookworms. Yes, bookworms are sometimes classified as introverts, but they can be social, too. (Though they might be guilty of bringing a book to a party, just as, you know, a backup.)
Did you know ... ?
What are some synonyms for bookworm?
What are some words that share a root or word element with bookworm?
What are some words that often get used in discussing bookworm?
How is bookworm used in real life?
Bookworm is most often used positively, especially by bookworms themselves.
Don’t let anyone judge you for the number of books you read. Books are expensive and life is busy. You’re still a good™ bookworm ✨
— abbie 🍂💛 (@britishbookread) March 5, 2020
The thought of self quarantine for non book lovers:
Omg what will I do for two weeks?! I’ll be so bored!
Bookworms: *cracks knuckles, picks unread book from pile of hundreds*
— Jenn ✨ ⋆ (@JennieLy) March 9, 2020
If bookworms find it so difficult to pick their favorite book it's because we find little pieces of ourselves scattered throughout so many of the stories we read. Combine the stories and you figure out the person. One person isn't just one story. It's all of them.
— Ruhni Darling (@Balruhni) March 7, 2020
Try using bookworm!
Is bookworm used correctly in the following sentence?
Bookworms can rarely make it out of a used bookstore without buying at least one book—and heaven help them in a library, where the books are free.
Example sentences from the Web for bookworm
While she should read well and wisely, the girl should not turn into a bookworm.The Canadian Girl at Work|Marjory MacMurchy
She was a good deal of a bookworm, and did a great deal of beautiful embroidery, and never said much.Winona of the Camp Fire|Margaret Widdemer
A dull bookworm like me,—cochlea vitam agens, Mr. Squills,—leading the life of a snail!The Caxtons, Complete|Edward Bulwer-Lytton
To tell the truth, a bookworm such as he is is one of the most irritating persons in existence.Girls of the Forest|L. T. Meade
It is no chimera of the recluse or the bookworm, but a potent reality.The World's Best Books|Frank Parsons