One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1short for corn earworm
- ‘The earworm probably does not overwinter in Nebraska, although larvae have been collected here as early as April.’
- ‘When I harvested the transplanted corn and found the earworm damage I was convinced it was because the plants had been weakened by transplanting.’
- ‘Their optimism is rooted in laboratory and field trials showing higher earworm mortality rates and less ear damage in high-maysin corn than in nonmaysin corn.’
- ‘Maysin works by binding up certain proteins in the earworm's gut so that it cannot grow.’
- ‘"Tight-husked" corn varieties with long silk channels are less prone to earworm infestation.’
2informal A catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person's mind.
- ‘For your listening pleasure, we present our all-time favorite Christmas earworm, "Last Christmas" by Wham!’
- ‘Once heard, it becomes an earworm.’
- ‘And, thanks to some overplayed commercial, my earworm du jour is "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."’
- ‘Everyone has his or her own worst earworm.’
- ‘This was my earworm yesterday.’
- ‘And earworm attacks were more frequent - and lasted longer - for musicians and music lovers.’
- ‘Any song can become an earworm, but his research has shown that some are better suited than others.’
- ‘Big, cinematic, anthemic - call it what you will, it's an earworm that will be sticking with you for the rest of the day.’
- ‘The conversation soon settled upon my earworm of the week: Tony Christie's newly re-released (Is This The Way To) Amarillo.’
- ‘While Sasha condemns herself to a day of Shakey, my earworm du jour is, ooh, so much classier.’
- ‘I don't even know the tune, but those lyrics are so evocative I've still got an earworm.’
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