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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.
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.
burp the worm
rude slang To masturbate. A term only applied to men. A: "Why is he all embarrassed today?" B: "Oh, his crush walked in on him burping the worm. How horrifying is that?"
have a worm in (one's) tongue
To be ornery, irritable, and prone to lashing out. Ever since my boyfriend lost his job, he's had a worm in his tongue and is not very pleasant to be around. Watch what you say around Uncle Ed—he has a worm in his tongue and gets angry at the slightest provocation.
worm's eye view
A limited understanding of something due to a lack of a broad perspective. It is the opposite of the more common phrase "bird's eye view." Because he was stuck in the same menial position for so long, he only had a worm's eye view of how the business operated.
(even) a worm will turn
Even quiet, submissive people will get angry if you continually agitate them. Sweet little Janine is going to snap at you if you keep bugging her—even a worm will turn sometimes.
the early bird catches the worm
Someone who is very active and alert in the early hours of the morning is apt to find success. We need to get to the store early if we want to have the best selection. The early bird catches the worm, you know.
the worm has turned
A person or group of people is retaliating or refusing to put up with agitation or mistreatment. With the dictator in hiding and the oppressed population taking control, it seems that the worm has turned. I used to get awful verbal abuse from my last boss, but the worm has turned and now I'm starting up my own rival company.
The early bird catches the worm.
Prov. If you wake up and get to work early, you will succeed. (Sometimes used to remark that someone is awake and working surprisingly early, as in the first example.) Fred: What are you doing in the office at 7:30 A.M.? Jane: The early bird catches the worm. I didn't expect to see you studying at the library at this hour of the morning. The early bird catches the worm, huh?
Even a worm will turn.
Prov. Even a meek person will become angry if you abuse him or her too much. You'd better stop maltreating Amy. She's a mild-mannered woman, but even a worm will turn.
worm (has) turned
Fig. Someone who is usually patient and humble has decided to stop being so. Jane used to be treated badly by her husband and she just accepted it, but one day she hit him. The worm turned all right. Tom used to let the other boys bully him on the playground, but one day the worm turned and he's now leader of their gang.
worm(one's way) in (to something)
1. Fig. to wiggle into something or some place. (Fig. on the image of a worm working its way into a very small space.) The little cat wormed her way into the box and got stuck. The cat wormed into the opening.
2. . Fig. to manipulate one's way into participation in something. She tried to worm her way into the play, but the director refused. You can't have a part, so don't try to worm in.
worm(one's way) out (of something)
1. Fig. to wiggle out of something or some place. (Fig. on the image of a worm working its way out of a very small space.) Somehow she managed to worm her way out of the handcuffs. Frank wormed out of the opening. He struggled and struggled and wormed out.
2. . Fig. to manipulate oneself out of a job or responsibility. Don't try to worm yourself out of this affair. It is your fault! You can't worm out of this.
worm something out of someone
to draw or manipulate information out of someone. I managed to worm the name of the doctor out of her before she ran off. You can't worm the names out of me!
early bird catches the worm
Also, early bird gets the worm. One who arrives first has the best chance for success, as in She's always the first one in line and does well at these auctions-the early bird catches the worm! This proverbial saying, first recorded in English in 1605, is so familiar that it is often shortened to early bird, a term also used in the sense of "early riser", as in You can call me at seven-I'm an early bird, as well as "early diner" ( This restaurant has early-bird specials at lower prices).
Insinuate oneself subtly or gradually, as in He tried to worm into her confidence. This idiom alludes to the sinuous path of a worm. [Early 1600s]
worm out of
Elicit or make one's way by artful or devious means. For example, He tried to worm the answer out of her, or She can't worm out of this situation. This expression alludes to the sinuous passage of a worm. [Early 1700s]
worm turns, the
Also, the worm has turned. Even a very tolerant person will one day lose patience. For example, He bullied his assistant for years, but one day the worm turned and he walked out without notice, taking along his best clients . This expression comes from the proverb Tread on a worm and it will turn, first recorded in John Heywood's 1546 collection.
the early bird catches the worm
1. You say the early bird catches the worm to mean that if you want to succeed in doing something, you should start as soon as possible. If you're going to make it to the Senate, you need to start right now. The early bird catches the worm.
2. You say the early bird catches the worm, to mean that people who get up early achieve more in their lives. Most of the serious buying at these markets happens between six and eight o'clock in the morning — the early bird catches the worm.
a worm's eye view
1. If you have a a worm's eye view of something, you see it from a low position. If only gardeners would take a worm's eye view of their lawns, they would discover a mass of fascinating and useful information.
2. If someone has a worm's eye view of a situation, they are able to form an impression of it from an unimportant or junior position. Let me offer a worm's eye view of what Thatcherism was, and what its legacy may be. Compare with a bird's-eye view.
the worm has turned
You say the worm has turned if someone who has accepted a lot of bad treatment from other people without complaining suddenly decides that they are not going to accept the situation any longer. Then my mother came home and started bossing us around. She said, `The worm has turned. Things are going to be different around here.'
a worm's-eye viewthe view looking up at something from ground level.
This expression was formed on the pattern of bird's-eye view (see bird). It usually refers to the viewpoint of a humble or insignificant person who is witnessing important events or people.
See also: view
(even) a worm will turneven a meek person will resist or retaliate if pushed too far. proverb
the ˌearly bird catches the ˈworm(saying) you have to get up early or do something before others in order to be successful ▶ an ˈearly bird noun (humorous) a person who gets up, arrives, etc. very early
the ˌworm ˈturns(informal) even a patient, calm person will get angry if they are repeatedly badly treated: He’s often rude to his secretary and she doesn’t say anything — but one day the worm will turn.
a worm’s-eye ˈviewthe opinion of somebody who is closely involved in something: I’m afraid I can’t give you a general overview of the situation. I can only offer you a worm’s-eye view that is based on my own experience.
See also: view
1. To introduce or insert oneself into some position or condition by subtle or artful means: He wormed into the role of director by trickery and guile.
2. To introduce or insert someone or something into some position or condition by subtle or artful means: She wormed her sister into the department without anyone realizing it. I wormed the controversial statement into the article without any of the other editors knowing about it.
worm out of
1. To elicit something from someone by artful or devious means: The clever police officers wormed a confession out of the suspect.
2. To extricate oneself from some situation by artful or devious means: You can't worm out of this situation, so don't even try.
n. a drunkard; an alcoholic. (From glow.) Gary came out of the bar and tripped over a napping glow worm near the entrance to the alley.
n. a repellent person, usually a male. Gad, you are a worm, Tom.
n. a fast, but low-rolling ball in golf, baseball, etc. Walter sent a worm burner down the third-base line.
n. a corpse. You wanna end up worm-food? Just keep smarting off.