January 11, 2013
- wormhole (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a hole or passage burrowed by a worm2 : a hypothetical structure of space-time envisioned as a long thin tunnel connecting points that are separated in space and time
- How do you use it?
- Some science fiction writers speculate that wormholes will become the highways of the future, allowing people to travel enormous distances through outer space.
- Are you a word wiz?
How old do you think the word "wormhole" is?If you think the word "wormhole" was recently invented by scientists or science fiction writers, you'll be surprised to learn that the word has actually been around since Shakespeare's day (that is, since the late 1500s and early 1600s, or for about 400 years). But back then, people used "wormhole" literally to mean "a hole made by a worm." The sense now popular in astronomy and science fiction is, of course, much newer. English speakers have used "wormhole" to refer to theoretical passages between widely separated regions of time and space only since the mid-1900s.