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lemming

[lem-ing] /ˈlɛm ɪŋ/
noun
1.
any of various small, mouselike rodents of the genera Lemmus, Myopus, and Dicrostonyx, of far northern regions, as L. lemmus, of Norway, Sweden, etc., noted for periodic mass migrations that sometimes result in mass drownings.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; < Norwegian; cognate with Icelandic lǣmingi lemming, lǣmingr loon; akin to Gothic laian to revile, Icelandic to blame
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for lemmings
  • With their claws, lemmings dig tunnels under the wind-packed snow.
  • They tallied mammals such as lemmings and muskoxen, and birds such as plovers and owls.
  • Show me that you are not the lemmings that you give every appearance of being.
  • The evidence is becoming overwhelming that humans descended from lemmings.
  • Since the beginning, there have been control freaks, and there have been lemmings.
  • So do the lemmings who instinctively believe there is lots of food at the bottom of the cliff.
  • Let's face it, the people that voted for the tax hike are tax and spend lemmings.
  • Perhaps only the lemmings as metaphor captures the past in this historicist perspective.
  • lemmings play a similar role wherever they are found.
  • The snowy owl is active day and night and is a particular predator on mice and lemmings on their breeding grounds.
British Dictionary definitions for lemmings

lemming

/ˈlɛmɪŋ/
noun
1.
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
2.
a member of any large group following an unthinking course towards mass destruction
Derived Forms
lemming-like, adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for lemmings
lemming
"small arctic rodent," 1607, from Norw. lemming, from O.N. lomundr "lemming." Perhaps from Lapp luomek. Fig. sense (in reference to their mass migrations that sometimes end in plunges into the sea) is from 1959.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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