A wild rabbit – considered a pest
by many, due to its destruction of farm crops
The term derives from the Latin vermis
), and was originally used for the worm-like larvae
of certain insects
, many of which infest foodstuffs.
The term varmint
) has been found in sources from c. 1530–1540s.
The term "vermin" is used to refer to a wide scope of organisms, including rodents
, bed bugs
, sables, rats, and occasionally foxes.
Historically, in the 16th and 17th century, the expression also became used as a derogatory term
associated with groups of persons typically plagued by vermin, namely beggars
, and more generally the poor
are the usual case, but the term is also applied to larger animals—especially small predators
—typically because they consume resources
which humans consider theirs, such as livestock and crops. Birds which eat cereal crops and fruit are an example. The American crow
), is widely hated by farmers because of crop depredation. Pigeons
, which have been widely introduced in urban environments, are also sometimes considered vermin. Some varieties of snakes
may also be referred to as vermin. "Vermin" is also used by some people as a term of abuse, either individually or collectively.
is an American-Englishcolloquialism
, a corruption of "vermin" particularly common to the American East
and South-east within the nearby bordering states of the vast Appalachia
region. The term describes species which raid farms from without, as opposed to vermin (such as rats) that infest from within, thus referring mainly to predators such as feral dogs
, and coyotes
, sometimes even wolves
or rarely bears
, but also, to a lesser degree, herbivores and burrowing animals that directly damage crops and land.
Deterioration of balance
Under Tudor "vermin laws", many creatures were seen as competitors for the produce of the countryside and bounties were paid by the parish for their carcasses. The declaration of the red kite
as vermin led to its decline to the point of extirpation in the UK by the 20th century. However, the red kite has since been reintroduced to much of Scotland and the majority of England and Wales by the trans-location of breeding pairs from other parts of Europe.
- ^ a b c "Varmint definition". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 5 January 2012. Origin: 1530–40; var. of vermin
- ^ "Vermin". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Britannica Publishing. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
- ^ "Vermint" cited in England in 1539, Oxford English Dictionary', 2nd ed
- ^ Phillipa Bellemore (November 2006). Tenants' Rights Manual: A Practical Guide to Renting in NSW. Federation Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-86287-557-9.
- ^ Karen Raber (24 September 2013). Animal Bodies, Renaissance Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-8122-0859-7.
- ^ McCarthy, Michael (23 March 2007). "Book Review: Silent Field, By Roger Lovegrove: songbirds versus shotguns". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
Last edited on 30 April 2021, at 18:22
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