Webster 1913 Edition



Any one of numerous species of cestode worms belonging to Taenia 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 larvae (see
) 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
Taenia solium
), the larva of which is found in pork; the
beef tapeworm
Taenia 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
, and 2d
, 4.

Definition 2023



See also: tape-worm


An adult tapeworm, Taenia saginata
The life cycle of Taenia saginata


tapeworm (countable and uncountable, plural tapeworms)

  1. (countable) Any parasitical worm of the class or infraclass Cestoda, which infest the intestines of animals, including humans, often infecting different host species during their life cycle.
    1. (countable) A broad fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum.
  2. (uncountable) Infection by tapeworms.
    • 1967, Senator Hill, United States. Congress. Senate, Labor--Health, Education, and Welfare appropriations for 1968: Hearings before the subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, volume 8, page 1819:
      We used to have a lot of tapeworm down in my neck of the woods, but we don't have much now.


  • (any species of class Cestoda): cestode

Derived terms


See also