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

Nearby words

  1. glowering,
  2. glowfly,
  3. glowing,
  4. glowingly,
  5. glowstick,
  6. gloxinia,
  7. gloze,
  8. glu,
  9. glubb,
  10. glubb, sir john bagot

Origin of glowworm

1300–50; Middle English. See glow, worm Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glow-worm

British Dictionary definitions for glow-worm



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

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper