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worm information

To get someone (sometimes with a touch of trickery) to reveal details that likely would not have been volunteered. Usually followed by "out of," as in "worm information out of." Bill was keeping quiet about his break-up, but I knew I could worm information out of him if I tried hard enough. Kira worms information about upcoming tests out of her teachers by complimenting them and straightening up their classrooms.
See also: information, worm

worm (one's) way in

To get oneself into a place or a situation, with a touch of trickery, artistry, or cunning. I plan on worming my way into the big meeting by schmoozing with my boss for a while.
See also: way, worm

cheat the worms

To avoid death, especially after having a serious illness. Refers to the worms often found near a decaying body. A: "I heard that Ellen cheated the worms! Is that true? Last I saw her, she was so sick." B: "Oh, yeah! She's doing great now!" I hope I can cheat the worms and make a full recovery—but I feel so sick right now.
See also: cheat, Worms

can of worms

A situation that, once started, is likely to become problematic or have a negative outcome. Getting involved in the minor border conflict has become a can of worms for the country, with no end to the military engagement in sight. You can try reformatting your computer, but once you open that can of worms, you'll probably be working on it for days.
See also: can, of, Worms

food for worms

A dead person. You better drive more carefully, unless you want to be food for worms!
See also: food, Worms

have one for the worms

To have an alcoholic drink. The phrase refers to the belief that alcohol kills worms in the stomach. Let's all have one for the worms—I'm buying!
See also: have, one, Worms

open (up) a can of worms

To initiate, instigate, or reveal a situation that is, will, or is likely to become very complicated, problematic, or have a negative outcome. I worry that trying to tweak the existing system could open up a can of worms that we're not anticipating. The candidate opened a can of worms when he made those inflammatory comments. Now the entire election has been dominated by the topic.
See also: can, of, open, Worms

worm (one's) way out (of something)

To disentangle oneself from some situation, duty, or responsibility, especially through sly, devious, or cunning means. You've wormed your way out of doing the dishes for the last time! Sally always finds some way to worm her way out of any trouble she gets herself into. I told you that the whole company has to be there to do the inventory count—you're not your way out this time!
See also: out, way, worm

*can of worms

Fig. a very difficult issue or set of problems; an array of difficulties. (*Typically: be ~; Open ~.) This political scandal is a real can of worms. Let's not open that can of worms!
See also: can, of, Worms

can of worms

A complex unexpected problem or unsolvable dilemma, as in Tackling the budget cuts is sure to open a can of worms. This expression alludes to a container of bait used for fishing, which when opened reveals an inextricable tangle of worms. [1920s]
See also: can, of, Worms

a can of worms

COMMON A can of worms is a situation or subject that is very complicated, difficult or unpleasant to deal with or discuss. Now we have uncovered a can of worms in which there has not only been shameful abuse of power, but a failure of moral authority of the worst kind. Note: You can also use the expression to open a can of worms, meaning to start dealing with or discussing something so complicated, difficult or unpleasant that it would be better not to deal with or discuss it at all. Whenever a company connects its network to the Internet, it opens a can of worms in security terms. Many people worry that by uncovering the cause of their unhappiness they might be opening a can of worms that they can't then deal with.
See also: can, of, Worms

open up a can of worms

discover or bring to light a complicated matter likely to prove awkward or embarrassing. informal
1998 New Scientist UN officials readily accept that they have opened a can of worms, and their guidelines will only have an effect, they say, if governments act on them.
See also: can, of, open, up, Worms

food for worms

a dead person.
See also: food, Worms

a can of ˈworms

(informal) if you open up a can of worms, you start doing something that will cause a lot of problems and be very difficult: I think if we start asking questions we’ll open up a whole new can of worms. Perhaps we should just accept the situation.
See also: can, of, Worms

can of worms

n. an intertwined set of problems; an array of difficulties. (Often with open.) When you brought that up, you opened a whole new can of worms.
See also: can, of, Worms


n. noodles; spaghetti. Let’s have worms tonight.

worms in blood

n. spaghetti in tomato sauce. I’m getting tired of worms in blood every Wednesday.
See also: blood, Worms

can of worms

A complex or difficult problem.
See also: can, of, Worms
References in periodicals archive ?
In Bayambang, the worms first raided squash and 'kamote' (sweet potato) farms before moving to nearby onion farms, he said.
The presented study put in evidence the kinematics generation, specific for the four kinds of cylindrical ruled symmetric worms utilized in techniques--ND, NG, E and A.
Several topics were covered, including what worms like to eat (basically, dirt), but more specifically as Ms.
But once the worm is fully removed, the patient's fever and vomiting usually cease.
In the lab, the scientists put the worms into an aquarium adjusted to copy the high-pressure environment to which the worms are accustomed.
The worm also directed infected machines to bombard Microsoft's site for updating Windows, to prevent users from downloading needed patches.
Check the worm house a few hours later to see if the worms have begun to burrow into the soil.
When Lirva worm activates, it tries to open the official web site of Avril Lavigne and starts a graphical screen effect consisting of colored, moving circles.
Using "good" microbes would have its costs: occupation of Internet capacity and consequent slowdown of data transmission and presence of malicious worms disguised as beneficial ones to elude detection.
The worms can chew through an autumn season of leaves in less than a year, tuning what should be a thick brown carpet of old foliage into a threadbare sheet of leaves or plain black dirt, and displacing the fungi, bacteria, and tiny invertebrates.
MX Logic Multi-Layered, Managed Protection Against Email Viruses and Worms
Worms from deep-sea vents actually prefer water at temperatures near the upper limits of what animals are known to survive.
Once swallowed, the worms most likely drowned in his stomach's digestive juices, the chemicals that break down food.
Worms from the Netsky family made a significant impact in March, with four versions appearing in the first 9 positions.
Rutledge raises 50,000 worms in a 3-foot-by-8-foot bed in his back yard, part of Wild West Worm Farms he started 18 months ago.