Student Dictionary

One entry found for vermin.
Main Entry: ver·min
Pronunciation: primarystressvschwar-mschwan
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural vermin
Etymology: Middle English vermin "small animal pests," from early French vermin (same meaning), derived from Latin vermis "worm" --related to VERMICELLI
: small common harmful or objectionable animals (as fleas or mice) that are difficult to get rid of
Word History The word vermin is used for any small harmful or annoying insect or animal that is difficult to get rid of or control. Fleas, lice, mice, rats, and even rabbits when they destroy gardens have been called vermin. However, the word vermin comes from a Latin word for a creature that is not usually thought of as troublesome. The word is vermis, meaning "worm." The word vermicelli, which English borrowed from Italian, can also be traced back to the Latin vermis. The Italians used this word for "thin spaghetti" because the strands look like "little worms," which is what vermicelli means literally.

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