vermin


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Vermin \Ver"min\, n. sing. & pl.; used chiefly as plural. [OE.
   vermine, F. vermine, from L. vermis a worm; cf. LL. vermen a
   worm, L. verminosus full of worms. See Vermicular, Worm.]
   1. An animal, in general. [Obs.]
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            Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the
            earth, and vermin, and worms, and fowls. --Acts x.
                                                  12. (Geneva
                                                  Bible).
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            This crocodile is a mischievous fourfooted beast, a
            dangerous vermin, used to both elements. --Holland.
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   2. A noxious or mischievous animal; especially, noxious
      little animals or insects, collectively, as squirrels,
      rats, mice, worms, flies, lice, bugs, etc. "Cruel hounds
      or some foul vermin." --Chaucer.
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            Great injuries these vermin, mice and rats, do in
            the field.                            --Mortimer.
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            They disdain such vermin when the mighty boar of the
            forest . . . is before them.          --Burke.
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   3. Hence, in contempt, noxious human beings.
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            You are my prisoners, base vermin.    --Hudibras.
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