Preferred term: Write-Once Read-Many

<networking, security> (From "Tapeworm" in John Brunner's novel "The Shockwave Rider", via XEROX PARC) A program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes. Compare virus. Nowadays the term has negative connotations, as it is assumed that only crackers write worms.

Perhaps the best-known example was the Great Worm.

Compare: Trojan horse.

(01 Feb 1996)

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1. A creeping or a crawling animal of any kind or size, as a serpent, caterpillar, snail, or the like. "There came a viper out of the heat, and leapt on his hand. When the men of the country saw the worm hang on his hand, they said, This man must needs be a murderer." (Tyndale (Acts xxviii. 3, 4)) "'T is slander, Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue Outvenoms all the worms of Nile." (Shak) "When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm, His mouth he opened and displayed his tusks." (Longfellow)

2. Any small creeping animal or reptile, either entirely without feet, or with very short ones, including a great variety of animals; as, an earthworm; the blindworm.

<zoology> Specifically: Any helminth; an entozoon. Any annelid.

An insect larva.

Same as Vermes.

3. An internal tormentor; something that gnaws or afflicts one's mind with remorse. "The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!" (Shak)

4. A being debased and despised. "I am a worm, and no man." (Ps. Xxii. 6)

5. Anything spiral, vermiculated, or resembling a worm; as: The thread of a screw. "The threads of screws, when bigger than can be made in screw plates, are called worms." (Moxon)

A spiral instrument or screw, often like a double corkscrew, used for drawing balls from firearms.

<anatomy> A short revolving screw, the threads of which drive, or are driven by, a worm wheel by gearing into its teeth or cogs.

<medicine> Worm abscess A worm wheel. Worm gearing. Worm gearing, gearing consisting of a worm and worm wheel working together. Worm grass.

<botany> A tincture prepared from dried earthworms, oil of tartar, spirit of wine, etc. Worm wheel, a cogwheel having teeth formed to fit into the spiral spaces of a screw called a worm, so that the wheel may be turned by, or may turn, the worm; called also worm gear, and sometimes tangent wheel.

Origin: OE. Worm, wurm, AS. Wyrm; akin to D. Worm, OS. & G. Wurm, Icel. Ormr, Sw. & Dan. Orm, Goth. Waorms, L. Vermis, Gr. A wood worm. Cf. Vermicelli, Vermilion, Vermin.

(01 Mar 1998)

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