What does the
$ mean in:
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vmuser is the username of currently logged on user.
localhost is the name of the computer on which current shell session is running.
~ means current directory is set to logged on user's home directory.
$ is an arbitrary marker delimiting information to the left and command field to the right of it. As to why it's
$ by default, refer to this question on SuperUser.
What you refer to is called a shell prompt and can be customized to suit individual user's needs. Here is a sample guide for customization in Bash.