Definition of varmint in US English:



North American
dialect, informal
  • 1A troublesome wild animal.

    • ‘The poor footing provided by the metal and the heat radiated by it should discourage the varmints from using your roof for their track meets.’
    • ‘Over time, I have developed a near phobia regarding the varmints to the point where I don't even like them mentioned.’
    • ‘All I heard constantly was the buzzing of mosquitoes and other pesky swamp varmints.’
    • ‘Whilst baiting up I inadvertently stood next to a wasp's nest, and was attacked by dozens of the varmints, getting stung about 10 times on various parts of my body.’
    • ‘Besides nest robbers such as the great horned owl and the raven, and a couple of egg-sucking varmints like the raccoon, there isn't much in nature that ospreys fear.’
    • ‘It might have come in handy if we ever spotted the Eastern Screech-Owl that disturbed our already suspect outdoor slumber, but the voluble varmint was well-hidden.’
    • ‘Why, they got out their shotguns and went hunting for the varmints.’
    • ‘These farmers often had to deal with varmints, and laid traps, then as now, as the most efficient way of addressing that problem.’
    • ‘The biggest pests on the farm are the varmints - voles, gophers, wild turkey and quail.’
    • ‘The sixgun is now available and should be extremely popular for hunting varmints and small game, as well as for the greatest of all handgun sports, plinking.’
    • ‘Out at 130 yards, which was the farthest shot taken, you better plan on making a head or upper body shot on small varmints.’
    • ‘Keep your hands and arms covered to protect yourself from poison ivy or garden varmints.’
    • ‘A great deal of space is devoted to hunting small game, varmints and big game in the US and Africa.’
    • ‘The long punishing jaws of a borzoi can snatch up small and not-so-small varmints both wild or domestic with lightning speed.’
    • ‘For rifle enthusiasts who practice regularly, who shoot varmints or targets at long range, a 300 yard shot on a big game animal is not difficult.’
    • ‘My fiancee-civilized, gentle soul-once beaned a squirrel with an ice cube to keep the varmint from stripping her sunflowers bare.’
    • ‘And sometimes, those varmints can be pretty darn big.’
    • ‘Incredibly, the voracious varmints passed them up, perhaps because larkspurs, both flowers and seeds, are toxic (something to consider if you have livestock or chewing pets).’
    • ‘It has taken a ton of small game and varmints with the kind of repeatable efficiency that a .22 rifleman would be happy to claim.’
    • ‘He had lived on prairie varmints for two days straight.’
    1. 1.1 A troublesome and mischievous person, especially a child.
      • ‘And today we're in the badlands of cowboy capitalism, uncovering what the varmints have done to our retirement savings.’
      • ‘Down on the main street is the Number Ten Saloon where Wild Bill copped a bullet in the back from a hired varmint named Jack McCall.’
      • ‘It is our job to deal with these pesky varmints and stick fines on their windscreens.’
      • ‘Sam, who has bought the General Store, is immediately faced with the prospect of paying protection money to the town baddie, Parker Tillman, the double-dealing varmint who sold him the store in the first place.’
      • ‘In the resulting court case, he pleads with the jury to set him free to take over as sheriff and run these varmints out of town.’
      mischievous child, imp, monkey, puck, rascal, rogue, minx, mischief-maker, prankster, tearaway
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Mid 16th century: alteration of vermin.