The Vermicious Knids are a type of dangerous alien creature in the works of Roald Dahl. They appear as primary antagonists in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and get passing mentions in other Dahl stories such as James and the Giant Peach. They are made of muscle and able to stretch their bodies into any form, such as letters to spell out the word SCRAM.

illustration of Vermicious Knids from the book

These creatures were of course invented by Roald Dahl, but were they inspired by anything else already existing in sci-fi or fantasy literature? As a related-but-not-exactly-the-same question, what about their name - was the term "Vermicious Knid" taken from or inspired by anything else, or just a typical piece of Dahl nonsense word building?

  • Vermicious is presumably an adjective derived from vermin,
    – Peter Shor
    Aug 10, 2022 at 17:12
  • 1
    @PeterShor If they can make letter shapes, a sister adjective to vermicular and vermiculous seems more likely ‘worm-like’ or ‘wormy’. Or perhaps a combination with ‘verminous’ so both wormy and obnoxious.
    – Spagirl
    Aug 11, 2022 at 6:49
  • "Vermicious is presumably an adjective derived from vermin" possibly also a portmanteau with vicious.
    – Pete
    Aug 11, 2022 at 21:59
  • 4
    ‘Vermicious’ is actually, as it turns out, in the OED as a variant of ‘’Vermiceous’, ‘of or pertaining to worms, wormy’.
    – Spagirl
    Aug 12, 2022 at 11:43


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