What is a worm? Definition and examples

The word WORM can have a number of different meanings, depending on the context in which it is being used.

  • Software
What is a Worm
Image created by Market Business News.

A harmful computer program that has been made to cause serious damage is referred to as a worm.

  • A Person
Tom is a worm - be careful
Image created by Market Business News.

If we call somebody a worm, it means that we think they are nasty, untrustworthy, and do not deserve respect.

  • An Animal
Birds like worms
Most birds eat worms. Image: Pixabay.com.

Worms, in biology, are small, narrow, snake-like, soft-bodied animals with no limbs or bones.

  • A Verb

The verb TO WORM means to move forward in a difficult or crowded situation. If you worm your way through a crowd, you move your body carefully and slowly without bumping into anybody.

Computer Software

In the world of IT (Information Technology), a worm is a kind of computer program. It has been designed to self-replicate, i.e., make lots of copies of itself.

It self-replicates fast and rapidly spreads throughout a computer system. Worms can damage a business or organization by slowing down its network or overloading it so much that it cannot function properly. In some cases, the whole system shuts down completely.

Some worms steal sensitive data, erase documents and files, and may even get your computers to send hundreds of thousands of spam emails.


A computer worm is a type of malware. The word malware is a combination of the beginning of MALicious and the end of softWARE. Trojans, spyware, and viruses are also types of malware.

Norton.com says the following about the term:

“A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself from computer to computer. A worm can replicate itself without any human interaction, and it does not need to attach itself to a software program in order to cause damage.”


A worm is a type of animal with no backbone, i.e., they are invertebrates. Their bodies are long and narrow with no arms or legs, like small snakes. A fertile garden has a lot of worms in the soil. Birds eat them.

Hookworms in the human intestine
Hookworms in the intestines (parasites). Image: Wikipedia.
  • Parasites

Some types of worms live in the bodies of other animals and feed from them – they are parasites. If a farm animal or pet has worms, it will be given worming medication. If you have worms, you should also take worming medication (worming tablets).

Video – What is a Worm?