American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The larva of either of two moths (Paleacrita vernata or Alsophila pometaria), destructive to fruit and shade trees.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A name given to certain caterpillars which are very destructive to fruit- and shade-trees. The spring canker-worm, Anisopteryx vernata, is found in the United States from Maine to Texas. The eggs are deposited upon trees. The larvæ, after feeding upon the foliage for about a month, sometimes entirely destroying it, descend by threads to the ground, in which they burrow and undergo transformation, the moths issuing in April, or sometimes in March. The male is winged, but the female is wingless, and is obliged to climb up the tree-trunk in order to deposit her eggs. Hence, an obstructive bandage, oil-trough, or tarred hand placed about trees is a common mode of protecting them. The fall canker-worm, Anisopteryx pometaria, is more distinctively a northern species. The moths issue mainly in the fall, and the eggs are exposed. See geometrid, measurer, and span-worm.
- n. Either of two caterpillars, the larvae of geometrid moths, that are destructive to fruit, buds and leaves.
- n. figuratively A corrupting or destructive force.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) The larva of two species of geometrid moths which are very injurious to fruit and shade trees by eating, and often entirely destroying, the foliage. Other similar larvæ are also called cankerworms.
- n. green caterpillar of a geometrid moth; pest of various fruit and shade trees
- From canker + worm. (Wiktionary)
“The "cankerworm," or licking locust, answers to the”
“This light issue is a cankerworm that has eatendeep into our economy, social life and every other ting you can think of!!”
“Like a cankerworm it has eaten deeply in the society and finally been accepted by the same society.”
“Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away.”
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”
“There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.”
“We need to adopt a zero tolerance policy to this cankerworm at the local and international levels," said Obasanjo, who also chairs the African Union, adding: "For this to happen, cooperation between developed and developing countries is essential.”
“Sickness, like a cankerworm, was gnawing at her life, and dragging her towards the tomb.”
“O envy, root of all countless evils, and cankerworm of the virtues!”
“That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”
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