earthworm

earthworm (n.) 1590s, from EARTH (Cf. earth) + WORM (Cf. worm) (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðmata. Old English also had angel-twæcce "earthworm used as bait," with second element from root of twitch, sometimes used in medieval times as a medicament.
For the blake Jawndes take angylltwacches, er þei go in to the erth in the mornynge and fry hem. Take ix or x small angyltwacches, and bray hem, and giff the syke to drynke fastynge, with stale ale, but loke þat thei bene grounden so small that þe syke may nat se, ne witt what it is, for lothynge. [Book of Medical Recipes in Medical Society of London Library, c.1450]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Earthworm — Earth worm , n. 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any worm of the genus {Lumbricus} and allied genera, found in damp soil. One of the largest and most abundant species in Europe and America is {L. terrestris}; many others are known; called also {angleworm} and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • earthworm — ► NOUN ▪ a burrowing segmented worm that lives in the soil …   English terms dictionary

  • earthworm — [ʉrth′wʉrm΄] n. any of a number of oligochaetous worms that burrow in the soil, esp. any of a genus (Lumbricus) very important in aerating and fertilizing the soil …   English World dictionary

  • Earthworm — Taxobox name = Earthworm image width = 250px image2 width = 250px image2 caption = Lumbricus terrestris, the Common European Earthworm regnum = Animalia phylum = Annelida classis = Oligochaeta ordo = Haplotaxida subordo = Lumbricina subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • earthworm — /errth werrm /, n. 1. any one of numerous annelid worms that burrow in soil and feed on soil nutrients and decaying organic matter. 2. Archaic. a mean or groveling person. [1400 50; late ME ertheworm. See EARTH, WORM] Regional Variation. The… …   Universalium

  • earthworm — UK [ˈɜː(r)θˌwɜː(r)m] / US [ˈɜrθˌwɜrm] noun [countable] Word forms earthworm : singular earthworm plural earthworms a type of worm that lives in soil …   English dictionary

  • earthworm — [[t]ɜ͟ː(r)θwɜː(r)m[/t]] earthworms N COUNT An earthworm is a kind of worm which lives in the ground …   English dictionary

  • earthworm — noun Date: 14th century a terrestrial annelid worm (class Oligochaeta); especially any of a family (Lumbricidae) of numerous widely distributed hermaphroditic worms that move through the soil by means of setae and feed on decaying organic matter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • earthworm — noun a) A worm that lives in the ground; a worm of Lumbricidae family, or, more generally, of Lumbricina suborder. b) A disparaging reference to a person, particularly one who grovels. Syn: groundworm …   Wiktionary

  • earthworm — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. annelid, angleworm, night crawler, dew worm, wiggler; see also worm 1 …   English dictionary for students

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