- any one of numerous annelid worms that burrow in soil and feed on soil nutrients and decaying organic matter.
- Archaic. a mean or groveling person.
Origin of earthworm
Regional variation note
Because the worm often comes to the surface of the earth when the ground is cool or wet, it is also called a nightwalker in New England, a nightcrawler, chiefly in the Northern, North Midland, and Western U.S., and a dew worm, chiefly in the Inland North and Canada. It is also called a red worm in the North Central, South Midland, and Southern U.S.
Examples from the Web for earthworm
Contemporary Examples of earthworm
Rossellini enthusiastically acts out various sex acts while costumed as an earthworm, a spider, a bee, and other invertebrates.Isabella Does Bug Porn
October 31, 2008
Historical Examples of earthworm
War was war in those days, not like this earthworm war that has replaced it.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
The Worm Lizard, found in Florida, is scarcely any larger around than an earthworm.Pathfinder
There are parts of me in every star and in every earthworm, and I don't know which is which or where!Yonder
Emily Hilda Young
Lucian Horace Ovid Virgil, too, did have seeing of that earthworm.The Story of Opal
Make drawings showing the external structure of the earthworm.Elementary Zoology, Second Edition
Vernon L. Kellogg
- any of numerous oligochaete worms of the genera Lumbricus, Allolobophora, Eisenia, etc, which burrow in the soil and help aerate and break up the groundRelated adjective: lumbricoid
1590s, from earth + worm (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðmata, also regnwyrm, literally "rain-worm." Old English also had angel-twæcce "earthworm used as bait," with second element from root of twitch, sometimes used in medieval times as a medicament.
For the blake Jawndes take angylltwacches, er þei go in to the erth in the mornynge and fry hem. Take ix or x small angyltwacches, and bray hem, and giff the syke to drynke fastynge, with stale ale, but loke þat thei bene grounden so small that þe syke may nat se, ne witt what it is, for lothynge. [Book of Medical Recipes in Medical Society of London Library, c.1450]