American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A caterpillar; especially, a hairy caterpillar injurious to vegetation, but what kind is unknown or undetermined. The name occurs three times in the Bible (Joel i. 4; ii. 25; Amos iv. 9) as the translation of the Hebrew gāzām, rendered in the Septuagint
κάμπηand in the Vulgate eruca. Some have supposed it to be a destructive kind of locust, as Pachytylus migratorius; but in Joel the name is expressly distinguished form “locust.” The Hebrew name is referred to a root meaning ‘to cut off’; the Greek κάμπηrefers to the bending or looping of some caterpillars, apparently pointing to a looper or measuring-worm—that is, the larva of some geometrid moth; and the Latin eruca may have the same significance. The destructiveness of many of these geometrids would fully bear out the Biblical implication. See oubit.
- 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.
GNU Webster's 1913
- 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.
- palmer + worm, because wandering about like a palmer. (Wiktionary)
- From the way they suddenly appear in large numbers like a throng of pilgrims. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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