I look for a verb that conveys gentle slow-motion wriggling.

For example, the octopus tentacle ... further into the sand.

According to the classical dictionaries OEL, OALD, CALD, etc. wriggling conveys with short writhing motions like a worm. I'm looking for a word that does not insinuate writhing.

Words like to drill, to bore, etc. do not fit here, because of the context of the sentence. My real sentence is different but the octopus tentacle conveys the idea of the movement.

My sentence is about a tangible sensation that permeates the body slowly over time, and that sensation has a clear physicalness, it's not an imagination. However, it can't be measured although the effect of it worming through the body should be measurable. (Somewhat similar to measuring the Higgs boson.


1 Answer 1


You could try slithering or worming

  • I don't think you can worm or slither a tentacle.
    – Lambie
    Jun 6, 2019 at 18:09
  • Why not? "The octopus tentacle slithered further into the sand." But, "The octopus tentacle wormed its way further into the sand."
    – Lorel C.
    Jun 6, 2019 at 18:23
  • Slither also insinuates 'quick and easy', at least according to my dictionaries. Hence, not possible. ...'to worm' ... is not too bad.
    – johann_ka
    Jun 6, 2019 at 19:28
  • @LorelC. Sorry, but only an animal (or insect) or person can slither or worm their way into something. An animal or human appendage cannot do so. Basic usage. We would not say: I slithered my arm into the hole. But we would say: I slithered into the hole.
    – Lambie
    Jun 6, 2019 at 19:33
  • @Lambie "Slowly, gently, the door to the closet swung open and a green-and-yellow-splotched tentacle slithered out and across the floor." --Dreamland, from the author of Star Trek
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 6, 2019 at 21:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .