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May 25, 2020

Word of the Day: Vermicular

1 CQ

Word of the Day : August 13, 2017

vermicular \ver-MIK-yuh-ler\ adjective


1 a : resembling a worm in form or motion

b : vermiculate

2 : of, relating to, or caused by worms


"The 36-by-60 inch panel includes a strange botanical form at far right, and layers of misty white, blue and orange oil color partially obscure vermicular forms that seem to burrow into the painting's 'atmosphere.'" — Marc Awodey, Seven Days (Burlington, Vermont), 7–14 Apr. 2010

"Born recyclers, worms transform the plant material they eat into vermicular compost, otherwise known as worm castings—a fancy name for worm poo—coveted by farmers to enrich their garden soil." — Debbie Hightower, The Thomasville (North Carolina) Times, 7 Nov. 2015

Did You Know?

What does the word vermicular have in common with the pasta on your plate? If you're eating vermicelli (a spaghetti-like pasta made in long thin strings) the answer is vermis, a Latin noun meaning "worm." If you dig deep enough, you'll find that vermis is the root underlying not only vermicular and vermicelli, but also vermiculate, which can mean either "full of worms" or "tortuous." It is also the source of vermin and worm, both of which in their earliest usage referred, despite their vermicular etymology, to any creeping or crawling creature, including wingless insects and reptiles.

Aired August 13, 2017

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Another cognate of "vermicular" is "vermiculite", a silicate mineral used as insulation and an absorbent soil expander in the heat-expanded form of short worm-like stacks of loosely connected layers.
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