A wormlike marine bivalve mollusc with reduced shells which it uses to drill into wood. It can cause substantial damage to wooden structures and (formerly) ships.Also called shipworm
Genus Teredo, family Teredinidae: several species, in particular T. navalis‘I first became acquainted with teredos while working on wooden boats in the San Francisco Bay area.’
- ‘It has been tried before but the bamboo became completely waterlogged and eaten by teredos before the Pacific was half crossed.’
- ‘In the age of wooden ships, teredos and other wood-borers were a tremendous problem.’
- ‘In early wooden ships, a sheathing of metallic copper was used to protect the timbers from being invaded by shipworms known as teredos - worms that bore into wood and weaken its structure.’
- ‘She did not sustain any serious damage in the Baltic Sea where the water is too cold for ship worms (teredos) to survive.’
Late Middle English via Latin from Greek terēdōn; related to teirein ‘rub hard, wear away’.