Share this entry

Share this page

lemming

Syllabification: lem·ming
Pronunciation: /ˈlemiNG
 
/

Definition of lemming in English:

noun

1A small, short-tailed, thickset rodent related to the voles, found in the Arctic tundra.
Example sentences
  • If there are no seals to hunt, they will eat small whales, lemmings, and even geese.
  • Two species of lemmings are the only other herbivores that occur in significant numbers on the island.
  • Researchers are also studying Arctic foxes, lemmings, snowy owls and vegetation.
1.1A person who unthinkingly joins a mass movement, especially a headlong rush to destruction: the flailings of the lemmings on Wall Street
More example sentences
  • In the last week I have received 3 calls from telemarketers and 5 pieces of individually addressed junk mails offering me the chance to join the financial lemmings as they go over the cliff that is inner-city investment property.
  • It is inexplicable that these women find optimism amid calamity when like lemmings our young rush to enlist in the politics of cynicism amid relative fortune.
  • The rest can only hide in their holes, or like lemmings rush to disaster en masse.

Origin

early 18th century: from Norwegian and Danish; related to Old Norse lómundr.

Words that rhyme with lemming

Fleming

Definition of lemming in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkəmbərsəm
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…