ver·​min | \ˈvər-mən \
plural vermin

Definition of vermin 

1a : small common harmful or objectionable animals (such as lice or fleas) that are difficult to control

b : birds and mammals that prey on game

c : animals that at a particular time and place compete (as for food) with humans or domestic animals

2 : an offensive person

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Synonyms for vermin


bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint

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Examples of vermin in a Sentence

The room was crawling with roaches and other vermin. the vermin who looted abandoned houses after the hurricane

Recent Examples on the Web

Image A short man in a beige button-down shirt emblazoned with the New York City health department logo walked through the doors of a restaurant kitchen, detected signs of vermin and called over the owner to tell him the bad news. New York Times, "The Life of a Restaurant Inspector: Rising Grades, Fainting Owners," 5 June 2018 Here, too, evidence suggests that calling Jews rats and vermin did little to motivate ordinary Germans to kill. Aliza Luft, Washington Post, "How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’?," 25 May 2018 Inspectors and epidemiologists for the Health Department who arrived last week at Belmont Park in Elmont N.Y., found signs of the vermin, as well as bedbugs, in the squalid cottages and barracks where the grooms and tack are housed. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "Hantavirus Was Not the Cause of Belmont Park Worker’s Death," 24 June 2018 Dozens of people living in Sanford apartments in the poorest parts of the city have complained about lack of heat in winter, vermin infestation and sewage backing up into units. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "D.C. cuts off taxpayer subsidies to landlord Sanford Capital after years of controversy," 10 May 2018 Trump has taken to talking about immigrants like they’re vermin. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Fox Host Defends Trump’s Border Policy: ‘These Aren’t Our Kids’," 22 June 2018 Some observers have drawn parallels between the president’s speech and Nazi descriptions of Jews as rats and vermin before the Holocaust and Hutu extremists referring to Tutsis as snakes and cockroaches to prepare for the Rwandan genocide. Aliza Luft, Washington Post, "How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’?," 25 May 2018 Roaches dart into crevices and bats and other vermin have sneaked inside. Rick Rojas, New York Times, "Once a Getaway Where Bunnies Frolicked, Now a ‘Black Hole’," 8 Apr. 2018 The scientists theorize that the poison paint was used to protect the books from insects and vermin. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Three poisonous books were found in University of Southern Denmark’s library," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vermin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vermin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vermin

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, from verm "worm" (going back to Latin vermis) + -in, -ine, suffix with diminutive or pejorative value, borrowed from Italian -ino, diminutive suffix, going back to Latin -īnus, suffix of appurtenance — more at worm entry 1, -ine entry 1

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Statistics for vermin

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vermin

The first known use of vermin was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for vermin



English Language Learners Definition of vermin

: small insects and animals (such as fleas or mice) that are sometimes harmful to plants or other animals and that are difficult to get rid of

: very bad, unpleasant, or offensive people


ver·​min | \ˈvər-mən \
plural vermin

Kids Definition of vermin

: small common harmful or objectionable animals (as fleas or mice) that are difficult to get rid of


ver·​min | \ˈvər-mən \
plural vermin

Medical Definition of vermin 

: small common harmful or objectionable animals (as lice or fleas) that are difficult to control

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More from Merriam-Webster on vermin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vermin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vermin

Spanish Central: Translation of vermin

Nglish: Translation of vermin for Spanish Speakers

Comments on vermin

What made you want to look up vermin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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