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[ley-mee-uh] /ˈleɪ mi ə/
noun, plural lamias, lamiae
[ley-mee-ee] /ˈleɪ miˌi/ (Show IPA),
for 1, 2.
Classical Mythology. one of a class of fabulous monsters, commonly represented with the head and breast of a woman and the body of a serpent, said to allure youths and children in order to suck their blood.
a vampire; a female demon.
(initial capital letter, italics) a narrative poem (1819) by John Keats.
Origin of lamia
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek lámia a female man-eater Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lamia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But before it falls, a lamia comes to his aid and kills his sister.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • "We had better get the lamia in condition first," Trask said.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • Suppose Dunnan comes and finds nobody here but Spasso and the lamia?

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • The lamia bore a coiled snake with the head, arms and bust of a woman.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • From the way the Space Scourge and lamia people laughed, it evidently was.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • lamia can separate the elements and give beauty and pleasure unalloyed.

  • Ceres was the goddess of harvest, the mother of Proserpine (lamia, i. 63, note).

  • Compare this conception of melancholy with the passage in lamia, i. 190-200.

  • lamia struck his imagination, but his heart was given to Isabella.

British Dictionary definitions for lamia


noun (pl) -mias, -miae (-mɪˌiː)
(classical myth) one of a class of female monsters depicted with a snake's body and a woman's head and breasts
a vampire or sorceress
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek Lamia
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 lamia

late 14c., from Latin lamia, from Greek lamia "female vampire," literally "swallower, lecher," from laimos "throat, gullet." Probably cognate with Latin lemures "spirits of the dead" (see lemur). Used in early translations of the Bible for screech owls and sea monsters. Sometimes also, apparently, mermaids.

Also kynde erreþ in som beestes wondirliche j-schape, as it fareþ in a beest þat hatte lamia, þat haþ an heed as a mayde & body as a grym fissche[;] whan þat best lamya may fynde ony man, first a flatereþ wiþ hym with a wommannes face and makeþ hym ligge by here while he may dure, & whanne he may noferþere suffice to here lecherye þanne he rendeþ hym and sleþ and eteþ hym. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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