any animal with a long, pipe-like body and no limbs
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.

It is the early bird that gets the worm.
~ English proverb

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.)
The Body of
B. Franklin, Printer,

Lies here, Food for Worms,

~ Epitaph
by Benjamin Franklin
  • The Body of
    B. Franklin, Printer,
    Like the Cover of an old Book,
    Its Contents torn out,
    And Stript of its Lettering & Gilding,
    Lies here, Food for Worms,
    But the Work shall not be lost,
    For, it will as he believ'd
    appear once more
    In a new and more elegant Edition
    Corrected and improved
    By the Author.

Quotes from theatre

  • 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.
They have made worm's meat of me.
  • 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.
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

Quotes from poetry


Quotes from prose

Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
  • 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.
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 First Commandment
in Principia Discordia
by Malaclypse the Younger

Quotes from music

All you have to do is follow the worms

Quotes from cinema

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.
  • Keating:  "Seize the day.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may."  Why does the writer use these lines?
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.
  • 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.

See also

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