Definition of vermin in US English:



  • 1treated as plural Wild animals that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, or game, or that carry disease, e.g., rodents.

    • ‘Cane rats should not be confused with domestic rodents such as rats and mice which can be disease-carrying vermin.’
    • ‘Foxes, regarded as vermin, were killed by farmers and labourers, but without undue ceremony.’
    • ‘We lived in a time when jack rabbits were vermin and the ranchers wanted all of them killed and I sure helped them out a bunch.’
    • ‘These include habitats where vermin, reptiles or insects gather and, according to Al Biruni, deserted places, prisons and places of grief and mourning.’
    • ‘You have to be going fast enough to kill the vermin instantly otherwise it's just cruelty to animals.’
    • ‘The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been called in to try to tackle the vermin on a pig farm.’
    • ‘There are issues of public safety concerning the pub in its current state and it is attracting vermin such as pigeons.’
    • ‘Who was to say that Old Macdonald only had domestic farm animals and traditional vermin?’
    • ‘Spilt feed, litter and standing water attract wild birds and vermin.’
    • ‘He also believes the area could soon become a haven for disease spreading vermin.’
    • ‘Rats are disease-carrying vermin and they should be eradicated.’
    • ‘The hunters complain that foxes are vermin and un-hunted pose a serious threat to farm livestock.’
    • ‘Surely, the presence of these disease carrying vermin is totally unacceptable and it is high time the authorities do something about them!’
    • ‘Foxes are not the predatory vermin some would like us to believe they are at all.’
    • ‘The couple live in an area where people often shoot birds, vermin and deer.’
    • ‘It can also be used to fence in pets or protect flower beds from damage by pets and wild vermin such as rabbits.’
    • ‘Pastoralists fear that cuts to the maintenance of the number one vermin fence could see wild dog numbers explode.’
    • ‘The mesh should then be weighted down around the perimeter of the stack preventing access by rodents or other vermin.’
    • ‘The birds are vermin just like pigeons are, in the same sense that weeds are weeds if they are growing in an undesirable, inappropriate place.’
    • ‘Other animals including horses, dogs, cats, poultry, vermin and wildlife can act as carriers and help spread the disease.’
    1. 1.1 Parasitic worms or insects.
      • ‘Some patients did not bathe, others were infested with vermin, and modesty was an issue, especially with female patients.’
      • ‘For centuries we have referred to them as weeds, pests, vermin and disease.’
      • ‘This scheme will increase vermin, smells and fly infestation of our town.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, it is periodically infested with bugs and vermin, which can harass citizens, contaminate buildings, etc.’
      • ‘And if something isn't done about it soon, we are going to have a serious vermin infestation in the town.’
      • ‘Legally, the council is obliged to deal with noise and air pollution and only has to respond to queries about vermin infestations.’
      • ‘One environmentally friendly way to annihilate vermin from your garden: By spraying it with dishwashing liquid.’
      • ‘Steel does not rot, warp, crack, split or change with the weather and it is termite and vermin proof.’
      • ‘The area was filthy and vermin infested, the report stated.’
      • ‘Improper handling of garbage and the transmission of disease by insects and vermin posed major health problems for the population.’
      • ‘Ravenscourt Park forbids the feeding of ducks as this encourages vermin and disease.’
      • ‘Trench warfare also led to stalemates that triggered even more casualties from vermin and disease.’
      • ‘Even with an hour's ride yet he had detected the stale smell of blood and vermin infested rot.’
      • ‘I have yet to read of their concern regarding cruelty done by the poisoning, trapping etc, of rats, mice, cockroaches and all other vermin.’
      • ‘Baptiste said the roofless building had been a haven for rats, snakes, centipedes and other vermin.’
    2. 1.2 People perceived as despicable and as causing problems for the rest of society.
      ‘the vermin who ransacked her house’
      • ‘They are not vermin - they are part of our society and they also have ambitions.’
      • ‘You can hobble your way right down to Guantanamo Bay with the rest of the vermin.’
      • ‘In this Bharat, the uncivilised savages claim the mantle of culture and the traitorous vermin parade as sentinels of nationalism.’
      • ‘She would probably be laughing about it with the rest of her vermin companions tonight.’
      • ‘Finding most of your vermin enemies is relatively easy.’
      despicable people, despicable person, rabble, riff-raff, refuse, garbage, trash, good-for-nothing, good-for-nothings, undesirable, undesirables, the lowest of the low, the dregs of society
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Middle English (originally denoting animals such as reptiles and snakes): from Old French, based on Latin vermis ‘worm’.