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

  • n. A shipworm of the genus Teredo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A shipworm (of genus Teredo).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of long, slender, wormlike bivalve mollusks which bore into submerged wood, such as the piles of wharves, bottoms of ships, etc.; -- called also shipworm. See shipworm. See Illust. in Appendix.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A lamelli-branch mollusk of the genus Teredo, family Teredinidæ; the ship-worm, T. navalis, conspicuous for the destruction which it occasions to ships and submerged wood, by perforating them in all directions in order to establish a habitation.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL. (Linnæus, 1758).] The typical genus of Teredinidæ, including T. navalis, the common teredo or ship-worm. See def. 1. Also called Septaria.
  • n. Any disease in plants produced by the boring of insects.

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

  • n. typical shipworm


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

New Latin Terēdō, mollusk genus, from Latin terēdō, a kind of worm, from Greek terēdōn; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots.


  • We have found, however, that a little marine wretch called the teredo attacks hemp so greedily that we've had to invent a new compound wherewith to coat it, namely, ground flint or silica, pitch, and tar, which gives the teredo the toothache, I suppose, for it turns him off effectually.

    The Battery and the Boiler Adventures in Laying of Submarine Electric Cables

  • Around the same time, an invasive worm called the teredo ravaged the docks and pilings along the waterfront, and periodic fires wiped out most of the buildings.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • This process took years, as the polyethylene glycol soaked into the wood and replaced the fibers of the wood lost to the ocean. unlike many ship wreck the Vasa was not attacked by teredo worms the bane to wooden ships before the advent of affixing a copper bottom.

    The Disaster of the Vasa

  • Analysis of the wood revealed that it had been infested by teredo ship worms, which are native to the Caribbean.

    Before the Big Apple

  • The wooden pieces consisted of some side planks and a piece of a frame, while the metal pieces included bronze (copper) nails and pieces of the lead sheathing that would have protected the hull below the waterline from the wood-devouring teredo worm and rot.

    Interactive Dig Black Sea: Synopsis

  • A caterpillar also is engendered in hives, of a species nicknamed the teredo, or ‘borer’, with which creature the bee never interferes.

    The History of Animals

  • The refitting included covering the wooden hull with copper sheets to protect it from teredo worms and to discourage barnacles and other marine organisms from fouling (and thereby, slowing) the ship.

    Reclaiming the Bounty

  • The protection was needed only during the time the caisson was afloat and before it was entirely submerged below the riverbed, where the sea worm, the teredo, never penetrates.

    The Great Bridge

  • It was expected that the double solution, by forming an insoluble compound, would prove an effective protection against the _teredo_.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 514, November 7, 1885

  • This merely confirms the general conclusion which has been stated under the head of creosoting, that nothing but the impregnation with creosote, and plenty of it, is an effectual protection against the _teredo_.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 514, November 7, 1885


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  • Another usage: "Even when the water was less volatile it could be a great nuisance. It rusted ships' metals; it was host to teredo worms and other small creatures that feasted on wood, even copper. Something was always eating at Somers."

    —Buckner F. Melton, Jr., A Hanging Offense: The Strange Affair of the Warship Somers (New York and London: Free Press, 2003), 65.

    April 26, 2009

  • see iron sickness for a usage.

    May 1, 2008