Etymology
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lemming (n.)

small arctic rodent, c. 1600, from Norwegian lemming, from Old Norse lomundr "lemming." Perhaps from Lapp luomek. Figurative sense (in reference to their prolific breeding and sudden mass migrations that sometimes end in plunges into the sea) is from 1958.

updated on June 10, 2016

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Definitions of lemming from WordNet

lemming (n.)
any of various short-tailed furry-footed rodents of circumpolar distribution;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.