Definition of vermin in English:



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

    ‘killed as vermin or game, the pumas have gone’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Surely, the presence of these disease carrying vermin is totally unacceptable and it is high time the authorities do something about them!’
    • ‘Rats are disease-carrying vermin and they should be eradicated.’
    • ‘Pastoralists fear that cuts to the maintenance of the number one vermin fence could see wild dog numbers explode.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The couple live in an area where people often shoot birds, vermin and deer.’
    • ‘Other animals including horses, dogs, cats, poultry, vermin and wildlife can act as carriers and help spread the disease.’
    • ‘The mesh should then be weighted down around the perimeter of the stack preventing access by rodents or other vermin.’
    • ‘He also believes the area could soon become a haven for disease spreading vermin.’
    • ‘These include habitats where vermin, reptiles or insects gather and, according to Al Biruni, deserted places, prisons and places of grief and mourning.’
    • ‘It can also be used to fence in pets or protect flower beds from damage by pets and wild vermin such as rabbits.’
    • ‘Foxes are not the predatory vermin some would like us to believe they are at all.’
    • ‘Who was to say that Old Macdonald only had domestic farm animals and traditional vermin?’
    • ‘You have to be going fast enough to kill the vermin instantly otherwise it's just cruelty to animals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hunters complain that foxes are vermin and un-hunted pose a serious threat to farm livestock.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Spilt feed, litter and standing water attract wild birds and vermin.’
    1. 1.1Parasitic worms or insects.
      ‘his clothes are infested with vermin’
      • ‘The area was filthy and vermin infested, the report stated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Improper handling of garbage and the transmission of disease by insects and vermin posed major health problems for the population.’
      • ‘And if something isn't done about it soon, we are going to have a serious vermin infestation in the town.’
      • ‘I have yet to read of their concern regarding cruelty done by the poisoning, trapping etc, of rats, mice, cockroaches and all other vermin.’
      • ‘Trench warfare also led to stalemates that triggered even more casualties from vermin and disease.’
      • ‘Legally, the council is obliged to deal with noise and air pollution and only has to respond to queries about vermin infestations.’
      • ‘For centuries we have referred to them as weeds, pests, vermin and disease.’
      • ‘Some patients did not bathe, others were infested with vermin, and modesty was an issue, especially with female patients.’
      • ‘Baptiste said the roofless building had been a haven for rats, snakes, centipedes and other vermin.’
      • ‘Steel does not rot, warp, crack, split or change with the weather and it is termite and vermin proof.’
      • ‘Even with an hour's ride yet he had detected the stale smell of blood and vermin infested rot.’
      • ‘One environmentally friendly way to annihilate vermin from your garden: By spraying it with dishwashing liquid.’
      • ‘Ravenscourt Park forbids the feeding of ducks as this encourages vermin and disease.’
    2. 1.2People 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.’
      • ‘Finding most of your vermin enemies is relatively easy.’
      • ‘She would probably be laughing about it with the rest of her vermin companions tonight.’
      • ‘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.’
      despicable people, despicable person, rabble, riff-raff, refuse, garbage, trash, vermin, 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.