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Pitiful Worms
"Another insect, CRUSHED!!!"
Dong Zhuo, Dynasty Warriors 4

"How dare you... I now must squash you LIKE THE BUG THAT YOU ARE!"

Bugs are small. Bugs can be annoying. And bugs are easily squishable, given the right tools. So what better way is there to insult an opponent you don't want to be bothered with anymore? By comparing him/her/it to a bug (or worm, or maggot, or something else that crawls along the ground and can easily be stepped on), of course.

This is a favored technique among very powerful and/or arrogant villains to intimidate their opponent or devalue their abilities before their climactic battle. More savvy heroes tend to shrug this off as lame posturing, but a bad guy will still throw this in from time to time, if only to make himself sound cool. This can be hammy, especially if you stop to think of what that would actually look like if it were a normal human saying it to an actual bug.

Note that some Worms are less pitiful than others.

See also the Drill Sergeant Nasty, who uses this as a "motivational" tool ("You call that an insult, maggot?!")

Not to be confused with The Arrogant Worms, which are something entirely different.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Watchmen
    Dr. Manhattan: The world's smartest man is no more a threat to me than the world's smartest termite.
  • Epic example from 52. Mr. Mind, who appears in most stories as a tiny, telepathic caterpillar who needs the help of other villains to fight his enemies, has become the Hyperfly. Now the size of a planet, he chases down Booster Gold and Rip Hunter...
    I have you now. You insects.
  • In one issue of Arkham Unhinged, Bane has broken into the church where Cash, the medical staff and political prisoners are holed up. Cash confronts, and Bane says that he is an insect to him. Cash's pure badass response
    Good! Then feel my sting! *SLASH!*
  • Due to his motif, Spider-Man's enemies often do this. Of course, if anyone is so foolish as to refer to him as an "insect", he'll be quick to remind them that he's actually an arachnid.

     Fan Fiction 

  • Rotti Largo from ''Repo! The Genetic Opera:
    "Maggots! Vermin! You want the world for nothing!"
  • Non-villain example from GoldenEye. Natalya tells off her former partner Boris, who has joined Trevelyan.
    Natalya: This is not one of your games, Boris! Real people will die! You pathetic little worm...
  • In Disney's Hercules, Pain and Panic, minions of Hades, use this trope on themselves, to demonstrate their unworthiness compared to their boss.
    Pain and Panic: We are worms! Worthless worms!
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (also in the stage play), the reprise of "Super Heroes" includes the line:
    "And crawling / on the planet's face / some insects / called the human race..."
  • Loki in The Avengers
    Director Fury: We have no quarrel with you.
    Loki: An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
    • Later, when Loki is thrown into a cell designed to contain the Hulk, Fury informs him he can be ejected into the sky at any time if he misbehaves, then says, "Ant, meet boot."
  • Amos, the preacher from Cold Comfort Farm begins his church service this way before beginning his rant about the Fire and Brimstone Hell that awaits them all.
    "You...miserable...crawling worms are yer here again then?"

  • In Taran Wanderer, Morda attempts to Baleful Polymorph Taran into a worm, considering other animals not lowly enough. (He fails because Taran is unwittingly holding his Soul Jar.)
  • Douglas Hill's Master of Fiends has a particularly unpleasant demon call the heroes insects.
    Scythe: Some insects bite, crawler. Do you dare to risk my fangs? <brandishes Cool Sword>
  • In The Dresden Files, this is fairly stock. So much so, that if the monster of the week doesn't do this, then they're Dangerously Genre Savvy. Like Cowl. Or Kincaid. Notice, they're both probably at least a little bit human.
  • Warrior Cats gives us a hilarious example in which a young apprentice makes up a weird dream that goes something like this "I was walking through the forest and ShadowClan cats were EVERYWHERE! And the river was running with blood, THUNDERCLAN BLOOD! I went to tell somebody in the camp but there were no ThunderClan warriors anywhere and a ShadowClan cat is all like 'We can crush ThunderClan, because ThunderClan are no more powerful then a swarm of beetles, and Beetles can be crushed,".
  • In Matt Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin is shown gradually having less and less regard for his wife as a person he loves and respects, more and more seeing her as a possession whose fear and pain, when he provokes them, are sweet. There's a scene where he looks at her and realizes he could crush her like a bug, and almost wants to.

    Live Action Television 
  • On Angel, Illyria, oh so much. An Old One from when demons ruled the earth, used to being worshiped by millions or billions of beings, she was not especially impressed with the twenty-first century. Insects, vermin, and muck were all ways she described humanity.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Large Ham Dr. Chaotica in the Flash Gordon expy holodeck program "The Adventures of Captain Proton!"
    Your pitiful fleet is no match for my spaceforce! We'll crush you like insects!
    • Gary Mitchell from the TOS episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" makes a similar threat as he's being beamed down to Delta Vega.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Ultimate Foe", the Valeyard hurls this sort of insult at Glitz: "Insect! Microbe!!"
  • In Babylon 5, The Vorlons and Shadows take this attitude towards the younger races, humans included. Kosh is our main window on this ("The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."), and he's actually way more engaged with us than the rest of his race.
  • In Haven, the villainous Mara is several centuries old and sees herself as superior to ordinary humans. She boasts to the heroes, "You're less than insects to me."

  • Professor Higgins in Pygmalion:
    Eliza: Nothing wrong — with you. I've won your bet for you, haven't I? That's enough for you. I don't matter, I suppose.
    Higgins: You won my bet! You! Presumptuous insect! I won it.

    Video Games 
  • The Emperor from Final Fantasy II (especially as he appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy) loves using this trope.
    "Insects may swarm, but they are still insects."
    • This comes back to bite him after his second major defeat - when he disbelievingly asks who the heroes are, Firion mockingly replies: "Just a swarm of insects."
  • Kefka from Final Fantasy VI - "Such magnificent power! You are like insects to me!"
  • Dr. Batrachian from Shadow Man - "You ant! You piece of excrement! You NOTHING!!"
  • SHODAN from System Shock also likes to use "insect" as an insult. Of course, this is one of her nicer threats...
  • Albel Nox from Star Ocean 3.
  • There's also Luca Blight's rant from Suikoden II:
    "You can round up a million maggots to defeat me...but you'll still all just be maggots!"
  • Astaroth from Soul Calibur, often calls his opponents "worms" and the like. Apparently, freaky hulking golems are hard to please. Who knew?
    • Soul Calibur IV gives us this gem from one of the more evil sounding custom male voices:
    Created Villain (Upon Victory): "Did you feel my power, you maggots?!"
  • Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, in one of his first lines!
    "I'm going to go swat down a couple of bothersome flies."
  • The Soldier from Team Fortress 2 often yells about maggots and spineless worms. (See Drill Sergeant Nasty above.)
  • One of Adon's win quotes in Super Street Fighter IV.
  • Sovereign in Mass Effect.
    Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh.
    Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident…
  • O. Dio of Live A Live's Western chapter:
    "It doesn't matter how many rats you rustle up... You won't be able to win against a Gatling Gun!!"
  • This exchange from Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals:
    Idura: "Foolish vermin! Do you dare to defy me? I'LL CRUSH YOU LIKE WORMS!"
    Tia (to Maxim and Guy): Hey, are we worms, or are we vermin? Boy, he's really mad now.
  • Galactus in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will sometimes start the Final Boss fight by saying "You are not unlike an ant fighting the sun."
    • He also says "Now I must squash you like the bug that you are!" when you beat him. Sure, he is.
    • Also, Super Skrull says at the beginning of a fight: "I will crush you like the insect you are."
  • Wizpig of Diddy Kong Racing enjoys calling the racers "worms."
  • Sigma from Mega Man X 2: "You are merely a bothersome insect, Mega Man X! It is about time that I crush you beneath my heel!"
  • Wild Dog in Time Crisis 4 says the following to the VSSE, whose members he had to deal with in the entire series.
    Wild Dog: Annoying bunch of little flies...
  • In Brütal Legend, Doviculus calls Lars an insect.
  • Used and then subverted in Xenoblade, in which Egil apologizes for calling the party "bugs" earlier after they put up a surprisingly strong fight against him. He then proceeds to call them "worms" upon their next encounter.
  • Along with "bakufu's dogs," this is one of Kazama Chikage's favorite ways to address the Shinsengumi in Hakuōki.
  • In Castlevania: Judgment, Dracula is quite fond of this. Some of his victory quotes have him call his defeated opponents insects.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, Iris loves using this trope as well. Just another reason to call her a Smug Super.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Yuga can barely finish a sentence without calling everyone around him worms and insects.

    Western Animation 

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