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

  • n. A small, hairlike, parasitic roundworm that infects the meninges surrounding the brain of large hoofed animals, usually members of the deer family.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Local area biologist Darryl McLeod and biologist intern Alyson Rob wrote in their report that the concern with moose populations stems from a variety of factors, including the expansion of white-tailed deer, parasites such as brainworm, liver fluke, and winter tick, the effects of climate change, and predation.

    Fort Frances Times Online -

  • What the author failed to mention was the likelihood that brainworm, transmitted by the currently large deer population in this historically deer-scarse region, is resulting in high moose mortality.

    How You Can Fight Global Warming

  • Today's "shut up and dance" (thank you, Jello Biafra) brainworm was the vampire story I'm supposed to be writing for ellen_datlow for this summer.

    it's wonderful. everywhere. so white.

  • Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (brainworm) is a nematode that infects the brain of the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

    Snails and deer poop

  • We can pressure, we can badger them, we can brainworm them 'til we're blue in the face but all they have to do is say "We're doing the best we can" and space us to put the kibosh to that.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Digg

  • Didn't stop me from trying on a sweltering Monday afternoon in Kissimmee, where Fun Spot was re-taping its current brainworm of a TV spot - the one with flashmobbish choreography and the trademark "IT'S HUUUUGE" tagline.


  • Billy Don't be a Hero if my next brainworm is Dear Prudence


  • Obviable is one of these beauties, and brainworm is another.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 3

  • Come on, sing along, we’re all doing it – in fact I’ve passed on the brainworm to my kids who are now trying not to hum.

    Ten Things Tuesday: A few of my Favorite Things « The Life and Times of Organic Mama


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  • Sometimes normal musical imagery crosses a line and becomes, so to speak, pathological, as when a certain fragment of music repeats itself incessantly, sometimes maddeningly, for days on end. These repetitions—often a short, well-defined phrase or theme of three of four bars—are apt to go on for hours or days, circling in the mind, before fading away. . . .

    Many people are set off by the theme music of a film or television show or an advertisement. This is not coincidental, for such music is designed, in the terms of the music industry, to "hook" the listener, to be "atchy" or "sticky," to bore its way, like an earwig, into the ear or mind; hence the term "earworms"—though one might be inclined to call them "brainworms" instead.

    Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (New York: Vintage Books, 2007), p. 41
    Though the term "earworm" was first used in the 1980s (as a literal translation of the German Ohrwurm), the concept is far from new.
    Id., p. 42.
    Jeremy Scratcherd, a scholarly musician who has studied the folk genres of Northumberland and Scotland, informs me that
    Examination of early folk music manuscripts reveals many examples of various tunes to which have been attributed the title "The piper's maggot." These were perceived to be tunes which got into the musician's head to irritate and gnaw at the sufferer—like a maggot in a decaying apple. . . . The "maggot" most probably appeared in the early 18th century. Interesting that despite the disparity of time the metaphor has remained much the same!
    Id., endnote 13.

    January 30, 2016