the worm (has) turned

the worm (has) turned

Said when a normally quiet, submissive, or patient 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 turned and I told him where he could stick it. Now I'm starting up my own rival company.
See also: turn, worm
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: turn, worm
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.'
See also: turn, worm
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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