from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.
  • n. Animals that prey on game, such as foxes or weasels.
  • n. A person considered loathsome or highly offensive.
  • n. Such people considered as a group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Animals that prey on game, such as foxes or weasels.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An animal, in general.
  • n. A noxious or mischievous animal; especially, noxious little animals or insects, collectively, as squirrels, rats, mice, worms, flies, lice, bugs, etc.
  • n. Hence, in contempt, noxious human beings.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rid or clear of vermin.
  • n. Any noxious or troublesome animal: mostly used in a collective sense.
  • n. A worm; a reptile.
  • n. A noxious or disgusting insect, especially a parasite; particularly, a louse, a bedbug, or a flea, A mammal or bird injurious to game, aud mischievous or troublesome in game-preserves: chiefly an English usage. Such quadrupeds as badgers, otters, weasels, polecats, rats, and mice, and such birds as hawks and owls, are all called vermin.
  • n. Hence A contemptible or obnoxious person; a low or vile fellow; also, such persons collectively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various small animals or insects that are pests; e.g. cockroaches or rats
  • n. an irritating or obnoxious person


Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *vermīnum, from Latin vermis, worm; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Norman vermin and Old French vermin, from Vulgar Latin *verminum (“vermin”), collective noun formed from Latin vermis ("worm"). See also worm. (Wiktionary)



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