Definitions

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

  • n. See corn earworm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tune that is stuck in one's head, especially as unwanted or repetitive.

Etymologies

A calque of German Ohrwurm ("earworm"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "What has caused the decrease in earnings?", in the shorthand of railroad telegraphy. --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906, p.217.

    January 22, 2013

  • Putin.

    April 13, 2011

  • While my guitar gently weeps....

    July 1, 2010

  • Let your balalaika sing what my guitar wants to sing...

    July 1, 2010

  • I can't believe that would be very pleasant.

    January 16, 2010

  • Got an earworm? I'll sell you an early earbird to pluck it out. That's the ticket.

    January 16, 2010

  • *humming*

    January 16, 2010

  • If we could embed videos, I would embed this one.

    January 16, 2010

  • No promises, but that might be reversible.




    November 19, 2009

  • The loss of the autoplaying earworm is one of the Great Tragedies of our time.

    November 19, 2009

  • Although we now have this vexample:
    "But sometimes a worm, called the earworm, which is like the tomato worm, will appear during June and eat the tips of the young ears." — The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming.

    November 19, 2009

  • Hey, uselessness's Popcorn doesn't autoplay any more :-(((

    November 19, 2009

  • Stop.

    September 19, 2009

  • Haha! Perfect.

    June 17, 2009

  • The most honest earworm I can think of is ELO's 'I Can't Get It Out Of My Head'.

    June 16, 2009

  • Que Sera, Sera's been the earworm curse para mi, par excellence! For some idiot reason, always in the shower...go figure!

    March 18, 2009

  • That's the uselessness. He's forever marked this page as infamous.

    March 17, 2009

  • ORO! YOU DEVIOUS SO-AND-SO! AARGGH! AUTOPLAY! OR WAS IT THE USELESSNESS?! AARRGGGGHHH!

    March 17, 2009

  • I don't know how this really contributes to the conversations on this page, but I'm puttin' it here anyway!

    Earworm Protection?


    March 17, 2009

  • listen closely
    not for very much longer
    you've got to
    keep control

    December 11, 2008

  • Oh, right. Do I have to stop bellowing?

    December 11, 2008

  • What's this Time Warp? We're doing The Earworm here.

    December 11, 2008

  • Let's do the Tiiiime Warrrrp agaaaaaaaain!!

    December 11, 2008

  • *bellowing*

    But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane!

    December 10, 2008

  • *waits to see who will post the "pelvic thrust" lyric*

    December 10, 2008

  • And bring your knees in ti-i-iight!

    December 10, 2008

  • Put your hands on your hips!

    December 9, 2008

  • And then a step to the right....

    December 9, 2008

  • Let's ... do ... the Earworm ... again!!!

    It's just a jump to the left --

    December 9, 2008

  • Oh, Wordie's got her beat. :)

    December 9, 2008

  • a lady at amazon introduced me to this word in September 08.

    December 9, 2008

  • This is what my mental radio came up with this AM!
    "Sex is natural. Sex is fun. Sex is better when it's one on one. (I want your sex)" AAAaaarrrrgggh!!

    *backs away from keyboard... hums the alphabet*

    October 23, 2008

  • Thanks, P. I knew it had a name, and now I have one more ****-related name to watch out for!

    This would have been listed as my "least favorite word", if I could stand to have it on my profile.

    July 30, 2008

  • It should be helmintophobia helminthophobia, Mia.

    July 30, 2008

  • Cutting off of ears! Absurd!

    July 29, 2008

  • The latter, Dontcry, and I'm not joking :/

    BTW, who on earth has an ear phobia? And what do they do, then – cut their ears off? Ow.

    July 29, 2008

  • Mia -- do you have an 'ear' phobia or a 'worm' phobia?

    July 29, 2008

  • Eugh, just eugh. Please be advised not to use this word in a conversation with me. I have a ****-phobia (what's the correct word for it?). It's an apt coinage, but an ugly word *totally grossed-out* *selective memory on*

    July 29, 2008

  • It is creepy, in a sort of ingenious way. What will earworms be teaching us next? ;-)

    February 17, 2008

  • That's just plain kreepy, r_t!

    Deutschland, Deutschland uber a-ha-lles,
    uber alle-es in de-her Welt....

    One can be sure that they will have kreepily chipper salesfolks in airline terminals throughout the land. perhaps we can look forward to some pitched battles between them and the Rosetta Stone Drones ...

    Myself, I'm learning Italian because, as a simple peasant boy, it's gonna be my key to meeting hot supermodels and impressing them with my syntactical synergies...

    Dove il gabinetto, per piacere?

    February 16, 2008

  • This just in:

    Feb 13, 2008 12:00 ET
    Berlitz to Launch New Language Learning Program, Earworms MBT

    Best-Selling Audio-Book Uses Catchy Tunes to Teach Foreign Languages

    NEW YORK, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Berlitz is pleased to announce the addition of the best-selling range of audio-books, Earworms Musical Brain Trainer (MBT). Renowned as one of the world's premier foreign language organizations, Berlitz is bringing this groundbreaking concept to North American retail outlets beginning March 2008.

    Earworms MBT takes an entirely new and innovative approach to language learning. Based on the science behind catchy songs that become stuck in one's head (the auditory cortex), Earworms works by pairing melodic music with soft spoken foreign words, phrases and their translations. The result: an incredibly effective method for learning conversational foreign languages by simply listening. Unlike other language programs, which require intense grammar exercises and repetitive drills, the Earworms method requires minimum concentration. The trainer is user-friendly, effective, and relaxing, allowing the listener to unwind while simultaneously learning a new language.


    God help us.

    February 16, 2008

  • Well, if nothing else, you'll have a seasonally appropriate earworm...TODAY, anyway. :-|

    November 1, 2007

  • Now that is just cruel!

    October 31, 2007

  • Some BASTARD just sent me to a site that plays the Monster Mash. DAMMIT!!!

    October 31, 2007

  • I don't know, cathari. Seems to me that cats would be clever enough to have a way to obliterate earworms the second they hear them. ;-)

    October 31, 2007

  • I had never heard Popcorn before, and I was so curious I had to go listen to it. Tellurian's reaction was "you want to give yourself an earworm?"

    Now that I've played it a few times through, though, I kind of feel bad for my cats, who probably have it now...

    October 31, 2007

  • Oh no! Now it's running through my head!

    October 30, 2007

  • Another fine example: the Wallace & Gromit theme.

    October 30, 2007

  • That has to be the ultimate earworm song!!

    October 24, 2007

  • Oh my, that's great. Thanks for the smorgasbord of annoyingly peppy music, uselessness! No wonder it seemed so familiar and yet hard to place.

    October 20, 2007

  • I gotta say, there's another ditty that can play all day round here: Lady (Here me tonight) by MoDJo. Hear song and see video under lady

    October 20, 2007

  • See discussion at shirt. It means we want earworm merch. :-)

    October 19, 2007

  • Why is this tagged "shirt"? If that's an earworm, I don't get it.

    October 19, 2007

  • It's called "Popcorn," originally recorded by the band Hot Butter. Because of its notoriety as an obnoxious earworm, it's been covered probably more than any other song ever. There are so many versions floating around, it's not even funny. Here are 79 of them you can download. I have no idea what version is playing on this page, they're all the same to me. More information (and still more versions to download) available here.

    October 19, 2007

  • What is the soundtrack, anyway? I might want to get a copy. :D

    October 19, 2007

  • Thank heavens for small blessings. ;->

    October 18, 2007

  • I think it's a matter of the remote server coming and going. It's not the most reliable place to load music from. ;-)

    October 18, 2007

  • The soundtrack is back! Who did that?

    *huming along*

    October 18, 2007

  • I think she may have changed some of the words a little bit. My eldest daughter wanted it, so I said okay 'cause I was tired of listening to the Wonder Pets theme song.... There's an animal in trouble! (There's an animal in twouble...)! (Cue 5- and 3-year-old paroxysms.)

    October 16, 2007

  • It's hardly a children's song, really, other than the part about candy.

    October 16, 2007

  • Yeah, Big Rock Candy Mountain.... but Lisa Loeb does a very pleasantly ethereal version of it, I must say. Got it from iTunes, off some children's album.

    October 16, 2007

  • Somehow I think it could happen, what with John and uselessness on the case. :-P

    October 16, 2007

  • But can we add this soundtrack to the earworm merch? Teeheehee.

    October 16, 2007

  • I just use the old Torture Your Sibling trick. Walk through the room where some unsuspecting victim is innocently working, reading, or otherwise engaged, start humming the earworm, walk out as you're finishing the hummed tune, and poof! Earworm has been transferred to its next host.

    It's not nice, but it's effective. Hey, you have to save yourself.

    P.S. John, we definitely need some earworm merch. ;-)

    October 16, 2007

  • What always works for me, in terms of getting rid of earworms, is humming my favorite childhood song. It never gets stuck, but it has enough oomph to derail the worm. I think the smurf song would just be another earworm for me.

    And, I have to agree with npydyuan on Big Rock Candy Mountain. Ug!

    October 16, 2007

  • I have a student named Quinn this year. I've been playing Quinn the Eskimo in my head ever since planning week. Every time I call the child's name, it starts over.

    Moral: Don't name your child Quinn.

    October 16, 2007

  • Clearly, someone unchained the bear.

    October 16, 2007

  • IN THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *collapses in quivering heap*

    October 16, 2007

  • There's a lake of stew, and of whiskey too, you can paddle all around them in a big canoe...

    October 16, 2007

  • Why? Why is the bear torturing me?

    October 16, 2007

  • ...where they hung the jerk that invented work...

    October 16, 2007

  • Aaaaaaaaighhh!!!! Make it stop!!!!!

    October 16, 2007

  • There ain't no short-handled shovels, no axes, saws, or picks...

    October 16, 2007

  • Must...leave...earworm...page....

    October 16, 2007

  • ...the bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens lay soft-boiled eggs...

    October 15, 2007

  • Oh, of course. And now I have in my head a slurry of all these bits of ditties swimming around... like an auditory analog of the miasma from the Kmart receiving room I worked in, long ago, particularly the area where health & beauty aids overlapped with all the candies & gums, which was never quite far enough away from the trash compactor!

    October 15, 2007

  • By worst, npydyuan, I think you mean best. Of course.

    October 15, 2007

  • Personal worst earworm song: "Big Rock Candy Mountain" from O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack.

    October 15, 2007

  • visual effects: ff to 2:56

    October 15, 2007

  • "It's a Small World After All" can drive me to drink.

    October 15, 2007

  • I think the "Chicken Dance" tune is the worst earworm ever.

    October 15, 2007

  • NOOOOOOOOOOO! *clutches head*

    October 15, 2007

  • One effective way to remove an earworm is to sing--to yourself, unless you want people to think you're crazy--the smurph's song. It's like an inoculation--it's close to being an earworm, but it isn't. But if you hum a few bars ("la la la la la la, sing a happy song..."), it'll dislodge another one.

    October 15, 2007

  • Weird. Neither of the computers I use lets me hear it. I suppose that should be considered a good thing.

    Wait! I spoke to soon. Now I hear it.

    October 15, 2007

  • No. It's still playing.
    And playing.
    And playing....

    October 15, 2007

  • Thanks, seanahan. For a second, I thought I was being gaslighted. Though it took me long enough to realize it. ;-)

    October 15, 2007

  • There used to be an earworm playing here. I think it was removed.

    October 15, 2007

  • Wait a minute--there's an earworm playing on this page? Or am I misunderstanding?

    October 15, 2007

  • Perhaps I should have said that I love it in theory. It is a clever little twist, and so perfectly appropriate for the listing.

    Oh, hell, I'm probably enough of a dork to still love it tomorrow, who am I kidding?

    October 15, 2007

  • But will you still love it tomorrow?

    October 15, 2007

  • I just love the fact the the listing comes with it's own infecting, infesting little earworm.

    October 15, 2007

  • Me too, slumry. Eee, it just todally skeeves me out.

    October 12, 2007

  • This is a useful and colorful word, but every time it comes up, it gives me the creeps--I guess I have had a too-vivid imagination about earwigs!

    July 12, 2007

  • That's good, R! I guess I was out of pocket five days ago!

    July 11, 2007

  • Here's a good suggestion. ;-)

    July 6, 2007

  • Remember "I had a little peanut, a little peanut...it was rotten...etc, (ad nauseum)" It is a wonder my brother didn't kill me over that. And if not that, "Have you seen the ghost of Tom...long white bones with the skin all gone..." or something like that. . .

    June 18, 2007

  • Which, of course, was fully my intent. I hide proudly behind the anonymity of the internet.

    June 1, 2007

  • I meant that it was mean to put that song into my head for me to hear all day. (:

    June 1, 2007

  • Not mean--just truthful. :-) And besides, it's usually not a person anyway, at least not for me. It's some inanimate object like, say, a CD. Which makes it my fault in the first place!

    May 31, 2007

  • I like the soundtrack. :)

    May 31, 2007