American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various terrestrial annelid worms of the class Oligochaeta, especially those of the family Lumbricidae, that burrow into and help aerate and enrich soil.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The common name of the worms of the family Lumbricidæ (which see), and especially of the genus Lumbricus, of which there are several species, one of the best-known being L. terrestris. They belong to the order of oligochætous annelids. The earthworm has a cylindric vermiform body, tapering at both ends, segmented into a great number of rings, destitute of legs, eyes, or any appendages visible on ordinary inspection. It moves by the contraction of the successive segments of the body, aided by rows of bristles which are capable of being retracted. It is hermaphrodite, each individual of a pair impregnating the other in copulation, when the two are jointed in two places by their respective clitella. Earthworms are highly useful, giving a kind of under-tillage to the land, loosening the soil, and rendering it more permeable to the air. According to Darwin, in his work on “The Formation of Vegetable Mould,” etc., earthworms, from their enormous numbers, exercise a highly important agency not only in this respect, but in the creation and aggregation of new soil, the burial and preservation (as also the original disintegration) of organic remains of all kinds, etc. They are food for many birds, mammals, and other animals, and their value for bait is well known to the angler, whence they are often called
anglewormsor fishworms. These worms are mostly a few inches long, but there are species attaining a length of a yard or more.
- n. Figuratively, a mean, sordid wretch.
- n. A worm that lives in the ground; a worm of Lumbricidae family, or, more generally, of Lumbricina suborder.
- n. this sense?) (derogatory) A person, particularly one who grovels.
- n. figuratively Death.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any worm of the genus Lumbricus and allied genera, found in damp soil. One of the largest and most abundant species in Europe and America is L. terrestris; many others are known; -- called also
- n. A mean, sordid person; a niggard.
- n. terrestrial worm that burrows into and helps aerate soil; often surfaces when the ground is cool or wet; used as bait by anglers
- From earth + worm. Compare German Erdwurm. (Wiktionary)
“I have selected an unfortunate earthworm from the backyard and will be giving it to the planarian soon.”
“My Ph.D. thesis concerned the metabolic mechanism by which the end product of nitrogen metabolism in the earthworm is switched from ammonia to urea during starvation.”
“As far as a nine foot long earthworm, that isn't the scariest earthworm.”
“Such apparent exceptions as earthworms, centipedes, and snakes are not difficult to explain, for the earthworm is a burrower which eats its way through the soil, the centipede's long body is supported by numerous hard legs, and the snake pushes itself along by means of the large ventral scales to which the lower ends of very numerous ribs are attached.”
“As logically we might say: 'All birds are bilaterally symmetrical; the earthworm is bilaterally symmetrical; therefore the earthworm is a bird.”
“[[File: Eat earthworm. jpg | thumb | 250px | left | The earthworm is a meal.]]”
“Likening him to an "earthworm", the MIC Youth adviser said the Penaga assemblyman was both deaf and blind.”
“In the absence of soil inversion, soil organic carbon levels increased and soil biology, such as earthworm levels increased, he said.”
“Even the Oregon giant earthworm, which is clearly very rare, has a mix of habitat and little pockets of things here and there -- that species has a much better chance.”
“The bird probably had succumbed to cold and starvation; the closest earthworm (actually, the closest earth) being in a small park almost a mile away.”
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