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

  • n. A limbless lizard (Anguis fragilis) of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, having a smooth snakelike body and feeding chiefly on slugs. Also called blindworm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small Old World lizard, Anguis fragilis, often mistaken for a snake, having no legs and small eyes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lecertilian reptile; the blindworm.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A scincoid lizard of the family Anguidæ: same as blindworm. Also slow. See cut under Anguis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small burrowing legless European lizard with tiny eyes; popularly believed to be blind


Alteration (influenced by slow) of Middle English slowurm, from Old English slāwyrm : slā-, earthworm, slowworm + wyrm, worm; see worm.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English sloworm (possibly influenced by slow), from Old English slāwyrm. Possibly related to Swedish slå (Wiktionary)


  • The slowworm must have shed its tail because it was blunt – we know both species do this to distract predators.

    Country diary: The Burren, Ireland

  • When we returned to our Burren I began repeating the "work" for our native lizards, the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara and the legless lizard, the slowworm Anguis fragilis (although the latter was probably introduced into the Burren as they are not native to Ireland).

    Country diary: The Burren, Ireland

  • The last slowworm I saw was caught by my sons on a Welsh path like this one.

    A Year on the Wing

  • The last stretch is a sun trap, and an eight-inch slowworm basks so that I can stroke the dark thin penciled line that runs the length of its malted brown back.

    A Year on the Wing

  • Less than two weeks ago the slowworm resident of my log pile kicked the bucket and I threw it behind the compost heap.

    Where do the old questions about dead birds go?

  • They omit innumerable things which have not been found useful or noxious, or have been inconspicuous, or have not happened to occur in the region inhabited by those who speak a particular language; and even things recognised and named may have been very superficially examined, and therefore wrongly classed, as when a whale or porpoise is called a fish, or a slowworm is confounded with snakes.

    Logic Deductive and Inductive

  • The warmth of the sun, although we could not feel it, must have penetrated into the earth some time since, for a slowworm came forth on a mound for the first time on

    Field and Hedgerow Being the Last Essays of Richard Jefferies

  • A snake or an adder would have begun to move away the moment any one stopped to look at it; but the slowworm takes no notice, and hence it is often said to be blind.

    Field and Hedgerow Being the Last Essays of Richard Jefferies

  • Since then a large silvery slowworm was killed just there -- a great pity, for they are perfectly harmless.

    Field and Hedgerow Being the Last Essays of Richard Jefferies

  • A silvery creature like a slowworm came crawling out from among them, slowly crossed the clay floor, and crept into the fire.

    Lilith, a romance


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