American English

Definition of worm noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a long, thin creature with no bones or legs, that lives in soil birds looking for worms see also earthworm, lugworm
  2. 2worms [plural] long, thin creatures that live inside the bodies of humans or animals and can cause illness The dog has worms. see also hookworm, tapeworm
  3. 3[countable] the young form of an insect when it looks like a short worm This apple is full of worms. see also glowworm, silkworm, woodworm
  4. 4[countable] (computing) a computer program that is a type of virus and that spreads across a network by copying itself
  5. 5[countable, usually singular] (informal) (disapproving) a person you do not like or respect, especially because they have a weak character and do not behave well toward other people
  6. Idioms
    a can of worms (informal)
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    if you open up a can of worms, you start doing something that will cause a lot of problems and be very difficult
    the early bird catches the worm (saying)
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    a person who takes the opportunity to do something before other people will have an advantage over them
    the worm will turn (saying)
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    a person who is normally quiet and does not complain will protest when the situation becomes too hard to bear
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: worm