Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several caterpillars that injure fruit trees by feeding on their leaves, especially the small green caterpillar of the North American moth Dichomeris ligulella.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A gelechiid moth, Dichomeris ligulella, destructive to certain trees.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any hairy caterpillar which appears in great numbers, devouring herbage, and wandering about like a palmer. The name is applied also to other voracious insects.
  • n. In America, the larva of any one of several moths, which destroys the foliage of fruit and forest trees, esp. the larva of Ypsolophus pometellus, which sometimes appears in vast numbers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A caterpillar; especially, a hairy caterpillar injurious to vegetation, but what kind is unknown or undetermined.
  • n. In the United States, the larva of the tineid moth Ypsilophus pometella, which in eastern parts of the country appears on the leaves of the apple in June, draws them together, and skeletonizes them.

Etymologies

From the way they suddenly appear in large numbers like a throng of pilgrims.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
palmer +‎ worm, because wandering about like a palmer. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 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.

    Probably Just One Of Those Funny Coincidences

  • And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

    Joel 2.

  • 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.

    Joel 1.

  • I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

    Amos 4.

  • I struck you with a burning wind, and with mildew, the palmerworm hath eaten up your many gardens, and your vineyards: your olive groves, and fig groves: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord.

    The Bible, Douay-Rheims, Old Testament — Part 2

  • And I will restore to you the years which the locust, and the bruchus, and the mildew, and the palmerworm hath eaten; my great host which I sent upon you.

    The Bible, Douay-Rheims, Complete

  • That which the palmerworm hath left, the locust hath eaten: and that which the locust hath left, the bruchus hath eaten: and that which the bruchus hath left, the mildew hath destroyed.

    The Bible, Douay-Rheims, Complete

  • It was on the danger and unwisdom of brooding continually on what is over; and it was preached upon the text, "I will restore to you the years which the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army."

    St. Winifred's, or The World of School

  • "A raw Scotsman," said Tunstall; "just come up, I suppose, to help the rest of his countrymen to gnaw old England's bones; a palmerworm, I reckon, to devour what the locust has spared."

    The Fortunes of Nigel

  • 9. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

    Villaraigosa And Nunez Cut And Run - Video Report

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