• WordNet 3.6
    • n tapeworm ribbonlike flatworms that are parasitic in the intestines of humans and other vertebrates
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Human tapeworms can grow up to 22.9m.
    • n Tapeworm (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of cestode worms belonging to Tænia and many allied genera. The body is long, flat, and composed of numerous segments or proglottids varying in shape, those toward the end of the body being much larger and longer than the anterior ones, and containing the fully developed sexual organs. The head is small, destitute of a mouth, but furnished with two or more suckers (which vary greatly in shape in different genera), and sometimes, also, with hooks for adhesion to the walls of the intestines of the animals in which they are parasitic. The larvæ (see Cysticercus) live in the flesh of various creatures, and when swallowed by another animal of the right species develop into the mature tapeworm in its intestine. See Illustration in Appendix.☞ Three species are common parasites of man: the pork tapeworm Tænia solium), the larva of which is found in pork; the beef tapeworm Tænia mediocanellata), the larva of which lives in the flesh of young cattle; and the broad tapeworm Bothriocephalus latus) which is found chiefly in the inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. See also Echinococcus Cysticercus Proglottis, and 2d Measles, 4.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Tapeworms range in size from about 0.04 inch to more than 50 feet in length.
    • n tapeworm An entozoic parasitic worm, of flattened or tape-like form and indeterminate length, consisting of many separable joints, found in the adult state in the alimentary canal of most vertebrated animals. Such worms belong to the order Cestoidea or Tæniada, family Tæniidæ, and several different genera, especially Tænia, the true tapeworms, and Bothriocephalus, the broad tapes. The so-called “head” of a tapeworm, small and inconspicuous in comparison with the great length to which the body may attain, is the whole of the real worm, all the rest of the joints being merely successive generative buds, which contain the matured sexual elements, and are technically called proglottides. They are continually budded off from the head, the oldest joint being the one furthest from the head; and any number of them may be broken off and expelled from the body withont stopping their continual gemmation. This is why no tapeworm can be eradicated nnless the head is expelled from the host. The chain of links or joints is the strobila; it may consist of several hundred generative buds, and grow to be several yards long. These formidable parasites are parenchymatous, having no mouth nor alimentary canal, and live by absorbing nourishment from that intended to nourish the host, so that persons thus parasitized may suffer from defective nutrition while acquiring a ravenous appetite. The head of the tape is provided with hooks or suckers, or both, for adhering to the mucous membrane of the host. The ova, matured in every one of the joints, do not complete their development in the animal in which the adult exists. They require to be swallowed by some other vertebrate, the ripe proglottides being expelled from the bowel of the host with all their contained ova fertilized. The segments or proglottides decompose and liberate the ova, which are covered with a capsule. After being swallowed the capsule bursts, and an embryo, called a proscolex, is liberated. This embryo, by means of spines, perforates the tissues of some contiguous organ, or of a blood-vessel. in the latter case being carried by the blood to some solid part of the body, as the liver or brain, where it surrounds itself with a cyst, and develops a vesicle containing a fluid. It is now called a scolex or hydatid, and was formerly known as the cystic worm. The scolex is incapable of further development till swallowed and received a second time into the alimentary canal of a vertebrate. Here it becomes the head of the true tapeworm (see tænia-head), from which proglottides are developed posteriorly by gemmation, and the adult animal with which the cycle began is thus reached. (See cut under tænia.) At least eight tapeworms, mostly of the genus Tænia, are found in man. The pork tape is T. solium, which in its cystic form (the socalled Cysticercus cellulosæ) in the pig produces the disease measles (see measles, 2); it is acquired by those who eat measly pork, or raw sausages made with such pork. The beef-tape is T. mediocanellata. The Egyptian or dwarf tape is T. nana; others are the elliptic-jointed, T. elliptica; the crested, T. lophosoma; the spotted, T. flavopuncta. A dogtape is T. serrata; its larva, called Cysticercus pisiformis, is the pea-measle of the rabbit. Another dog-tape is T. cœnurus, whose larva is the cystic worm (Cœnurus cerebralis) of the sheep's brain, producing the gid or staggers. A third dog-tape is T. echinococcus, whose larva, known as Echinococcus veterinorum, is a common hydatid sometimes found in man. T. marginata of the dog is the tapeworm from the slender hydatid Cysticercus tenuicollis of the sheep. A cysticercus of the mouse becomes Tænia crassicollis in the cat. Certain cysticerci of moles become in the fox Tænia tenuicollis and T. crassiceps. The broad tapeworm of man is Bothriocephalus latus, also called Swiss tapeworm, and another human parasite of this genus is B. cordatus. Tapes are also called ribbon-worms. See cut under Cestoidea, also cœnurus, cysticercus, echinococcus, hydatis, proglottis, scolex, deutoscolex, strobila.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tapeworm tāp′wurm a term sometimes used as a popular synonym for Cestoda or Cestoid Worms, but especially for those which belong to the families Tæniadæ and Bothriocephalidæ.
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  • William S. Burroughs
    “Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?”


In literature:

Among the rest was a dried tapeworm.
"Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
Garfinkel mentions a case which has been extensively quoted, of a peasant who voided 238 feet of tapeworms, 12 heads being found.
"Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine" by George M. Gould
Father calls him the red tapeworm; but that's really not fair.
"A Young Girl's Diary" by An Anonymous Young Girl
The tapeworms of the horse are relatively unimportant and not very common.
"Special Report on Diseases of the Horse" by United States Department of Agriculture
Cat, conveys diphtheria, 10; harbors tapeworms, 10.
"Health on the Farm" by H. F. Harris
The living tapeworm does not induce pearl formation.
"East of Suez" by Frederic Courtland Penfield
The different tapeworms are generally responsible for nothing more than indigestion and nervousness.
"Rural Hygiene" by Henry N. Ogden
Adult cattle do not seem to suffer much from infestation with tapeworms, but in calves these parasites may cause scouring and emaciation.
"Special Report on Diseases of Cattle" by U.S. Department of Agriculture
To the former class belong the various tapeworms found in the small intestine of man.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 4" by Various
Reason: Tapeworm and booze.
"H. R." by Edwin Lefevre
A number of tapeworms are known to undergo their sexual stage in an insect or other arthropod.
"Handbook of Medical Entomology" by William Albert Riley
Trace the history of a tapeworm from the egg to the adult.
"A Guide for the Study of Animals" by Worrallo Whitney
Both are common tapeworms of wolves (Mech 1970).
"An Experimental Translocation of the Eastern Timber Wolf" by Thomas F. Weise
Just a sort of glorified tapeworm that is too stupid to know when it is killing itself off.
"Sense of Obligation" by Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
Tapeworms may be just as fit to survive as golden eagles.
"Herbert Spencer" by J. Arthur Thomson
He calls Europe a tapeworm in the brain of his countrymen.
"Unicorns" by James Huneker
Tapeworm accounts for it in some instances.
"A System of Practical Medicine by American Authors, Vol. I" by Various
I own a tapeworm of the soul.
"Wilderness of Spring" by Edgar Pangborn
Another common tapeworm parasitic on man lives part of its life as an embryo within the muscles of cattle.
"A Civic Biology" by George William Hunter
Have also a tapeworm preserved in alcohol or formalin to show the very flat and many-segmented body.
"Elementary Zoology, Second Edition" by Vernon L. Kellogg

In news:

The larval stage of the pork tapeworm ( Taenia solium ) infects the human nervous system, causing neurocysticercosis.
How to treat and prevent recurring tapeworm infections in your dog.
My Rottweiler has had numerous tapeworm infections, and I'm tired of it.
Two kinds of tapeworms affect dogs.
In fact, animals fed raw-meat diets run the risk of contracting salmonellosis (a disease caused by the salmonella bacteria) and possibly acquiring tapeworms.
The Tapeworm Emails and the Gloria Airmails.
Friday's Daily Wrangle : Find rumored Tapeworm music.