any of various wormlike marine bivalve mollusks that burrow into the timbers of ship, wharves, etc.

Nearby words

  1. ships that pass in the night,
  2. shipshape,
  3. shipside,
  4. shipton, mother,
  5. shipway,
  6. shipwreck,
  7. shipwright,
  8. shipyard,
  9. shiralee,
  10. shiraz

Origin of shipworm

First recorded in 1770–80; ship1 + worm Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shipworm

  • The teredo or shipworm was a serious peril in the days before the sheathing of ships.

British Dictionary definitions for shipworm



any wormlike marine bivalve mollusc of the genus Teredo and related genera and family Teredinidae. They bore into wooden piers, ships, etc, by means of drill-like shell valvesSee also piddock
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