noun, plural ver·min.

noxious, objectionable, or disgusting animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control, as flies, lice, bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, and rats.
an objectionable or obnoxious person, or such persons collectively.
animals that prey upon game, as coyotes or weasels.

Origin of vermin

1300–50; Middle English vermyne < Anglo-French, Middle French vermin, vermine < Vulgar Latin *verminum, *vermina, based on Latin vermin-; see verminate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vermin

Contemporary Examples of vermin

Historical Examples of vermin

  • Did I not very particularly ask you whether there were any vermin in it?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • These vermin are more to be feared than hangman's cord or headsman's axe.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The world in general is under a mistake as to the nature of these vermin.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • He belonged to the class of humanity which you can call by no other name than that of vermin.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Suddenly he thrust out an arm and appeared to crush some vermin against the wall.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for vermin



(functioning as plural) small animals collectively, esp insects and rodents, that are troublesome to man, domestic animals, etc
plural -min an unpleasant, obnoxious, or dangerous person

Word Origin for vermin

C13: from Old French vermine, from Latin vermis a worm
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

Word Origin and History for vermin

c.1300, "noxious animals," from Anglo-French and Old French vermin, from Vulgar Latin *verminum "vermin," possibly including bothersome insects, collective noun formed from Latin vermis "worm" (see worm). Extended to "low, obnoxious people" by 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vermin in Medicine



n. pl. vermin

Any of various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.