ver·​min | \ ˈvər-mən How to pronounce vermin (audio) \
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

The issues at the Central Division come amid larger concerns about disease and filth across downtown, notably a vermin infestation at City Hall last year. Mark Puente,, "Following rat infestation, LAPD deploys robot to sanitize Central Division station," 28 June 2019 That’s because many view iguanas as vermin and don’t want their properties to be associated with such a problem, the iguana control companies said. Doreen Christensen,, "Iguanas are worse than ever and we’re spending big bucks to get rid of them," 21 June 2019 The rats are considered vermin; the raptors are welcomed as heartening signs of nature returning to the city. Charlie Hamilton James, National Geographic, "How rats became an inescapable part of city living," 17 June 2019 The rotten floor was ripped up and carted away, replaced by a layer of Roxul insulation (the vermin don’t like it, nor does moisture) and this sweet tongue-in-groove pine floor from a local (well, two hours away) mill. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Live Off the Grid," 10 June 2019 The city of Los Angeles is grappling with deteriorating sanitation problems, as an increase in homeless camps and illegally dumped trash have created conditions for rats and other vermin to infest L.A. City Hall. Brian Pascus, CBS News, "Los Angeles grapples with homeless camps, illegally dumped trash and rat-infested City Hall," 4 June 2019 Last year a friend approached him about doing a show to benefit NYCHA, as news reports piled up about the raft of problems facing the authority, including lead paint, lack of heat, broken elevators and vermin. Katie Honan, WSJ, "‘SNL’ Comedian Michael Che Stands Up for NYCHA Residents," 5 Jan. 2019 Couples and guests must brave the elements and the animals: curious cattle, farm vermin, barnyard smells, and the occasional spitting llama. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "Barn Weddings Are Hot—and Smelly, Muddy, and Prone to Four-Legged Crashers," 14 Sep. 2018 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

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

3 Jul 2019

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
informal : very bad, unpleasant, or offensive people


ver·​min | \ ˈvər-mən How to pronounce vermin (audio) \
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 How to pronounce vermin (audio) \
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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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