Robert Littell

Do I want to be a bookworm?

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I thought of the word ‘bookworm’ with affection. I mean worms aren’t very harmful and tag along the word book and it should be cute. I was curious about the word’s origin. Well, the exact origin wasn’t clear but I thought the results were interesting. Normally, when definitions are given in a dictionary the first entry is most commonly used followed by other definitions. It was the order that I thought was funny. Bookworm is basically used in two definitions: a reader and an insect that feeds off book paste.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary:

noun

  1. any of a number of insects or insect larvae that harm books by feeding on the binding, paste, etc.
  2. a person who spends much time reading or studying

American Heritage Dictionary:

noun

  1. One who spends much time reading or studying.
  2. Any of various insects, especially booklice and silverfish, that infest books and feed on the paste in the bindings.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/bookworm

Both dictionaries provide two definitions for the word bookworm, but the order is different. Which defines bookworm better as a reader or an insect that eats books? I suppose you could look at it that a bookworm is a reader who devours and eats books as though they were dessert. Luckily, the term bookworm used as a person who enjoys reading doesn’t destroy books. There isn’t exactly one type of  ‘bookworm’  insect, instead it is various insects that eat the book’s glue which ultimately wreck them. Here is information about the bookworm as an insect:

http://www.unesco.org/webworld/ramp/html/r8820e/r8820e03.htm

I am a bookworm. For play, I bury myself in the corners of libraries and read.
– Robert Littell

Bookworm Pictures & Coloring Pages 

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