Dictionary.com

lemming

[ lem-ing ]
/ ˈlɛm ɪŋ /
Save This Word!

noun
any of various small, mouselike rodents of several genera including Lemmus, Myopus, and Dicrostonyx, of far northern regions, as L. lemmus, of Norway, Sweden, etc., noted for periodic mass migrations that sometimes involve crossing bodies of water. Incidental drownings that have occurred during such passage gave rise to the myth of mass suicides among supposedly frenzied lemmings jumping from cliffs into the sea.
a person who follows the will of others, especially in a mass movement, and heads straight into a situation or circumstance that is dangerous, stupid, or destructive: These lemmings that eat up conspiracy theories are so blinded by lies, they don’t even see the cliff they’re about to plummet over.
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of lemming

First recorded in 1600–10; from Norwegian; cognate with Icelandic lómundr “lemming,” læmingr “loon”; akin to Gothic laian “to revile,” Icelandic “to blame”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use lemming in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lemming

lemming
/ (ˈlɛmɪŋ) /

noun
any of various volelike rodents of the genus Lemmus and related genera, of northern and arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America: family Cricetidae. The Scandinavian variety, Lemmus lemmus, migrates periodically when its population reaches a peak
a member of any large group following an unthinking course towards mass destruction

Derived forms of lemming

lemming-like, adjective

Word Origin for lemming

C17: from Norwegian; related to Latin latrāre to bark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK