While there is no universal or technical term to rely upon when using collective names for worms, our attempts have lead to some interesting and humorous results.
Human beings have used several terms to describe a group of worms, but no official terminology exists so far.
Over the ages, we have resorted to using a string of terms for the slimy creatures, each coming with its own distinct and somewhat wacky appeal.
A clew of worms? A knot? Or what about the humorous term, a can of worms?
All are quite valid, and yet, none are exclusive.
So, what exactly is a group of worms called? Let’s find out!
What Would You Call a Group of Worms?
If we’re looking for the closest fit, we would stick to using the term, a bed of worms.
We know what you’re thinking, worms don’t sleep on beds. (Well, there are some bed worms that do!)
However, the term fits well for worms in the wild and in vermicomposting (worm farming) where you often create “worm bedding” for worms to live in and it sounds pretty catchy.
Besides, as you’ll learn, most of the terms used to describe a group of worms are technically incorrect if we go by meaning.
Let’s take the example of the popular term, a knot of worms. The word ‘knot’ describes a bunch of ropes, strings, or something similar, tightly tangled or tied together.
So technically, the word itself has nothing to do with worms, and yet, it sounds like a good enough term to describe a collection of them since that’s what they resemble visually.
Now, returning to our preferred term, ‘a bed of worms’; the phrase was actually coined initially by Nervo Chaos, a popular metal band.
It comes from their hit song, “Nailed to the Bed of Worms,” which is quite a catchy way to describe the slithery creatures.
Worms, when grouped together, usually spread and coil – perhaps like a bed mattress?
Which is maybe what prompted Nervo Chaos to invent the term. Or maybe they were avid worm farmers? Who knows.
On the other hand, you could also come up with a brand new term that perfectly matches the description.
How about going with a glob of worms? Or perhaps you’d prefer a ring of worms? Whatever floats your boat, since there is no official term.
Is there a Technical Name for A Bunch of Worms?
Officially? Not really.
Unofficially? There’s plenty to pick from!
The most outlandish name for a bunch of worms would be a squirm.
The term ‘squirm of worms’ was coined by Mary Appelhof, author of the popular guidebook “Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up & Maintain a Worm Composting System.”
Another strange term to describe a group of worms is a “clat.”
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘clat’ as a clot or clog of dirt or a messy condition.
Seeing as how worms tend to live on and inside dirt or soil, the term ‘clat of worms’ sounds somewhat accurate to use, if not abnormal to say.
A ‘wriggle of worms’ is yet another eccentric way to describe a bunch of worms.
As we all know, worms are sleek, cylindrical creatures who tend to twist and turn while moving around.
This action can be defined as wriggling and perfectly captures the physical description of worms.
So, the next time you want to describe a group of worms, just call them a wriggle!
Is There a Collective Noun for a Group of Worms?
Collective nouns began to describe different animal groups, as well as people, or objects in the most accurate way possible.
For example, a pride of lions, a gang of thieves, a school of fish, or a troupe of artists.
When describing a group of worms, the official collective noun seems to be a ‘clew.’
This is often confusing for people, as the word itself is a term used by sailors and has nothing to do with worms.
The Oxford dictionary describes a clew as the lower corner of a sail.
However, the more popular definition would be a ball of thread or a cord.
We think it is the latter meaning that associates the word with the jittery creatures.
Worms are thin, nimble, and long, just like a cord.
But when grouped, they do also appear similar to a “ball of thread”, so the term ‘clew of worms’ makes sense in this case.
But are these collective nouns inspired enough to be used on an official basis as a collective term for worms? We haven’t got a ‘clew’!
Are There any Humorous Definitions For a Bunch of Worms?
Anyone who spends a lot of time scanning through online forums and group chats will definitely come across some hilarious definitions.
One such term is a wad of worms. The word ‘wad’ is slang for a stack or a collection of cash bundled together.
The fact that some people are out there referring to groups of worms as a ‘wad of worms’ is quite funny, if not outlandish.
However, the most humorous and offensive definition for a group of worms would be none other than the word ‘politicians.’
As we all know, the word ‘worm’ is often used to insult people considered nefarious, soulless, corrupt, or plain evil (which is supremely harsh considering how important worms are for humanity!).
Politicians embody most of these traits and are quite deserving of the association. Worms will feel very hard done by, though.
Worms resembling politicians is something they will want to distance themselves from.
And, of course, we always have the popular saying,’ a can of worms.’
In this scenario, the term describes the feeling of creating or being stuck in a difficult or annoying situation.
For example, this article has opened up a can of worms we can’t put back in.
Frequently Asked Questions About “What is a Group of Worms Called?”
When Do a Bunch of Worms Group Together?
Worms generally group together for three reasons:
- When they detect a threat: Worms generally group together in large numbers when they sense something dangerous or feel threatened. Researchers believe that worms band together when detecting predators or soil pathogens and secrete antibacterial fluids from their skin to deter them.
- Worms eat together: On the other hand, worms may also band together when dining together.
- To communicate: A study conducted by the University of Leige in Belgium, for the journal Ethology (1) even showed that a “herd or swarm” of worms group together and communicate or “talk” through touch
In most cases, multiple worms will pounce on the same worm food source, which drives everyone in the group to close in on each other.
Other Interesting and Not-So-Interesting Terms For What Is a Group of Worms Called
Though the last few are pretty much technical terminology for worms and refers to them by their correct biology or specific group in the animal kingdom.
So there you have it, our list of fascinating, humorous, straight-up bizarre and unusual terms to describe a group of worms.
Officially, what is a group of worms called? There is no globally agreed on or official term for what a group of worms is called.
Like for many animals, they are made up and eventually, they are adopted as the official term at some point in time.
No such time or circumstances have arrived yet for our little, slimy friends. The search continues.
This means us humans take plenty of liberties when it comes to naming worms, which gives rise to many popular terms that stick to our minds.
And the best part is these terms are always evolving.
So, a popular term used today could easily be replaced by something more catchy or light hearted five years from now.
Do you have an interesting or commonly used phrase, words or collective noun for worms in your language or culture that describe a whole group of worms?
It’d be interesting and humorous for us to find out how you use it in a sentence if you left a comment below!
(1) Earthworms form herds and make “group decisions”