"The worm has turned,"
is a saying that traces its roots to an old proverb
: "Tread on a worm and it will turn."
meaning was that even the lowliest of creatures
will react to harsh treatment. William Shakespeare
makes use of this idea in Henry VI
To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
Not to the beast that would usurp their den?
The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
Today, the worm has turned
is used to note how something has changed, a situation has reverse
d. He who was once on top is now on the bottom -- or vice versa
. And in sporting event
s it is used to indicate a complete shift in the tenor, or momentum
, of a game.