• synonyms


  1. the wingless female or larva of the European beetle, Lampyris noctiluca, which emits a sustained greenish light.
  2. any of various other beetle larvae or wingless females that emit a glow rather than a flash of light.
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Origin of glowworm

1300–50; Middle English. See glow, worm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for glow-worm

Historical Examples of glow-worm

  • God makes the glow-worm as well as the star; the light in both is divine.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • A Jackdaw once ran up to a Glow-Worm and was about to seize him.

  • Said the Glow-Worm with pride, “Wickedness yields to wisdom!”

  • The rabbit has white warmth for a waistcoat, and the glow-worm has a lantern for a head.

    A Miscellany of Men

    G. K. Chesterton

  • Has the Glow-worm a free control of the light which he emits?

British Dictionary definitions for glow-worm


  1. a European beetle, Lampyris noctiluca, the females and larvae of which bear luminescent organs producing a greenish light: family Lampyridae
  2. any of various other beetles or larvae of the family Lampyridae
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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 glow-worm


early 14c., from glow (v.) + worm (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper