- For the German city, see Worms, Germany. For the video game series, see Worms (series).
The term worm is used in everyday language to describe many different distantly related animals that typically have a long cylindrical tube-like body and no limbs. Worms vary in size, and various types of worm occupy a small variety of parasitic niches, living inside the bodies of other animals. Free-living worm species do not live on land, but instead live in marine or freshwater environments, or underground by burrowing.
In biology, "worm" refers to an obsolete taxon (vermes) used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Most animals called "worms" are invertebrates, but the term is also used for the amphibian caecilians and the slow worm Anguis, a legless burrowing lizard. Worms may also be called helminths, particularly in medical terminology when referring to parasitic worms, especially those that reside in the intestines of their host. When an animal or human is said to "have worms," it means that it is infested with parasitic worms.
- Fate has decreed that we shall be worms; so let us resign ourselves to being worms; nay... let us be worms with gusto, strenuously; let us make up our minds to be the best of all possible worms. For, after all, a good worm is better than that nondescript creature we become when we try to live above our station, in the world of wings. No amount of trying can convert a worm into even the worst of butterflies.
- Aldous Huxley, Do what you will. Quoted from Ram Swarup: On Hinduism: Reviews and Reflections (2000), Ch. 5
- To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish. (Translation of the Yiddish proverb, צו אַ וואָרעם אין כריין, די וועלט איז כריין.
Tsu a vorem in khreyn, di velt iz khreyn.)
- Howard Moskowitx, as quoted by Malcolm Gladwell in (September 6, 2004)"The ketchup conundrum". The New Yorker: 129–135. (quote from p. 130)
- It is the early bird that gets the worm.
- "Those who are late to act, arrive, or get up tend to miss opportunities already seized by those who came earlier."
- Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 5 September 2013.
- Tread on a worm and it will turn.
- "The meanest or weakest person is not to be provoked or despised. No creature so small, weak, or contemptible, but if it be injured and abused will endeavour to revenge itself."
- Ray, John (1813). A compleat collection of English proverbs. To which is added, A collection of English words not generally used. [2 pt. Interleaved, with MS. additions by F. Douce].. p. 176.
- Benjamin Franklin (himself).
Quotes from theatreEdit
Quotes from William ShakespeareEdit
- Lord Clifford: To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
- Henry VI, Part 3, Act II, scene ii (c. 1591).
- King Richard: No matter where. Of comfort no man speak:
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth;
Let's choose executors, and talk of wills:
And yet not so—for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
- The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, Act III, Scene ii (c. 1595).
- Mercutio: Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. — A plague o' both your houses!
They have made worm's meat of me.
I have it, and soundly too: — A plague o' both your houses!
- Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene i (1597).
- Romeo: ...here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh.
- Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene iii (1597).
- Hamlet: A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
Claudius: What dost thou mean by this?
Hamlet: Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
- The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act IV, Scene iii (between 1599 and 1602).
- Orsino: And what's her history?
Viola: A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,
And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
- Twelfth Night, or What You Will, Act II, Scene iv (1601 or 1602).
Quotes from poetryEdit
- The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave;
The deep damp vault, the darkness, and the worm;
These are the bugbears of a winter's eve,
The terrors of the living, not the dead.
- Edward Young, "The Christian Triumph," Night 4 of The Complaint: or Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality (1742–1745).
- I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Tho' grac'd with polish'd manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at ev'ning in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarn'd,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
- William Cowper, Winter Walk at Noon, bk. 6 of The Task (1785), lines 560–567.
- O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
- But strength alone though of the Muses born
Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,
Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres
Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs,
And thorns of life; forgetting the great end
Of poesy, that it should be a friend
To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.
- John Keats, "Sleep and Poetry," (1816 or 1817), st. 11, lines 35–41.
But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
- Edgar Allen Poe, "The Conqueror Worm," Graham's Magazine (January 1843), st. 4.
And the angels, all pallid, and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
- Edgar Allen Poe, "The Conqueror Worm," Graham's Magazine (January 1843), st. 5, lines 5–8.
Quotes from proseEdit
- Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
- Michel de Montaigne, Book II of Essais (1595).
- All of these are finally transformed back into their primary substances, the Earth feeding the Plant, the Plant the Worm, the Worm the Bird, and often the Bird the Beast of Prey; Then finally the Beast of Prey is consumed the Bird of Prey, the Bird of Prey by the Worm, the Worm by the Herb, the Herb by the Earth: Man indeed, who turns everything to his needs, is often consumed by the Beast, the Bird, or the Fish which preys on him, by the Worm or the Earth. It is thus that everything circulates.
- Carl Linnaeus, Nemesis Divina (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996, orig. 1734), ed. M. J. Petry.
- As I was led to keep in my study during many months worms in pots filled with earth, I became interested in them, and wished to learn how far they acted consciously, and how much mental power they displayed.
- Charles Darwin, Introduction to The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881), pp. 2–3.
- You have evolved from worm to man, but much within you is still worm.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, §3 of "Zarathustra's Prologue" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1880s).
- "The nethermost caverns," wrote the mad Arab, "are not for the fathoming of eyes that see; for their marvels are strange and terrific. Cursed the ground where dead thoughts live new and oddly bodied, and evil the mind that is held by no head. Wisely did Ibn Schacabao say, that happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes. For it is of old rumour that the soul of the devil-bought hastes not from his charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws; till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes secretly are digged where earth's pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Festival," Weird Tales 5, no. 1 (January 1925).
- If men cease to believe that they will one day become gods then they will surely become worms.
- Henry Miller, pt. 3 of The Colossus of Maroussi (New York, N. Y.: New Directions Paperback, 2010; orig. 1941), p. 205.
I opened my eyes—and all the sea was ice-nine.
The moist green earth was a blue-white pearl.
The sky darkened. Borasisi, the sun, became a sickly yellow ball, tiny and cruel.
The sky was filled with worms. The worms were tornadoes.
- Kurt Vonnegut, "The Grand Ah-whoom," ch. 116 of Cat's Cradle (Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, 2010; orig. 1963), p. 261.
- I. There is no Goddess but Goddess and She is Your Goddess. There is no Erisian Movement but The Erisian Movement and it is The Erisian Movement. And every Golden Apple Corps is the beloved home of a Golden Worm.
- THE FIVE COMMANDMENTS (THE PENTABARF) in Principia Discordia (the Magnum Opiate of Malaclypse the Younger, 1965).
- The butterfly was just a lowly worm in its beginning. The worm didn't live with the moment-to-moment expectation of sprouting wings and taking flight. He lived a useful and productive life, the life of a worm. And he had to die a worm in order to be born as an angel!
- Henry Miller, published posthumously in Reflections (Capra Press, 1981), p. 76.
- One day you're thinking and hauling yourself around, and the next, you're cold fertilizer, worm buffet.
- Chuck Palahniuk, ch. 4 of Fight Club (17 August 1996).
- Man may live like a worm, but he writes like a god.
- Imre Kertész, Felszámolás (Liquidation, 2003).
Quotes from musicEdit
- But it was only a fantasy
The wall was too high, as you can see
No matter how he tried, he could not break free
And the worms ate into his brain
- Pink Floyd, "Hey You," The Wall (20 November 1979), s. 3, tr. 1, written by Roger Waters.
- Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come
- All you have to do is follow the worms
- Pink Floyd, "Waiting for the Worms," The Wall (20 November 1979), s. 4, tr. 4, written by Roger Waters.
- The face forgives the mirror
The worm forgives the plough
The question begs the answer
Can you forgive me somehow?
- Tom Waits, "All the World Is Green", Blood Money (7 May 2002).
Quotes from cinemaEdit
- Remember: walk without rhythm and we won't attract the worm.
- Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) in Dune (14 December 1984), screenplay and directed by David Lynch, based on Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert.
- Charlie: Because he's in a hurry.
- Keating: No. Ding! Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.
- John Keating (Robin Williams) and Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen) in Dead Poets Society (2 June 1989), written by Tom Schulman.
- The early bird gathers no moss! The rolling stone catches the worm!
- Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) in The Truman Show (5 June 1998), written by Andrew Niccol.
- What's silent and smells like worms? Bird farts.
- Once you've had worm, it's what you'll yearn!
- Sleeble (Greg Ballora), Gleeble (Carl J. Johnson), Neeble (Thom Fountain), and Mannix (Brad Abrell) in Men in Black II (3 July 2002).
- Sofi Elizondo: How many senses do worms have?
- Ian Gray: They have two: smell and touch. Why?
- Sofi Elizondo: So, they live without any ability to see or even know about light, right? The notion of light to them is unimaginable.
- Ian Gray: Yeah.
- Sofi Elizondo: But we humans, we know that light exists—all around them, right on top of them, they cannot sense it. But with a little mutation, they do. Right?
- Ian Gray: Correct.
- Sofi Elizondo: So, Doctor Eye, perhaps some humans, rare humans, have mutated to have another sense—a spirit sense—and can perceive a world that is right on top of us, everywhere, just like the light on these worms.
- Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) and Sofi Elizondo (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) in I Origins (18 January 2014), written and directed by Mike Cahill.