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[urth-wurm] /ˈɜrθˌwɜrm/

any one of numerous annelid worms that burrow in soil and feed on soil nutrients and decaying organic matter.
Archaic. a mean or groveling person.
any of numerous oligochaete worms of the genera Lumbricus, Allolobophora, Eisenia, etc, which burrow in the soil and help aerate and break up the ground related adjective lumbricoid

1590s, from earth + worm (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðmata, also regnwyrm, literally “rain-worm.” Old English also had angel-twæcce “earthworm used as bait,” with second element from root of twitch, sometimes used in medieval times as a medicament.

For the blake Jawndes take angylltwacches, er þei go in to the erth in the mornynge and fry hem. Take ix or x small angyltwacches, and bray hem, and giff the syke to drynke fastynge, with stale ale, but loke þat thei bene grounden so small that þe syke may nat se, ne witt what it is, for lothynge. [Book of Medical Recipes in Medical Society of London Library, c.1450]


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