vampire

[ vam-pahyuh r ]
/ ˈvæm paɪər /

noun

a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.
(in Eastern European folklore) a corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, that periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaled or burned.
a person who preys ruthlessly upon others; extortionist.
a woman who unscrupulously exploits, ruins, or degrades the men she seduces.
an actress noted for her roles as an unscrupulous seductress: the vampires of the silent movies.

Origin of vampire

1725–35; (< F) < German Vampir < Serbo-Croatian vàmpīr, alteration of earlier upir (by confusion with doublets such as vȁzdūh, ȕzdūh air (< Slavic vŭ-), and with intrusive nasal, as in dùbrava, dumbrȁva grove); akin to Czech upír, Polish upiór, Old Russian upyrĭ, upirĭ, (Russian upýrʾ) < Slavic *u-pirĭ or *ǫ-pirĭ, probably a deverbal compound with *per- fly, rush (literal meaning variously interpreted)

Related forms

vam·pir·ic [vam-pir-ik] /væmˈpɪr ɪk/, vam·pir·ish [vam-pahyuh r-ish] /ˈvæm paɪər ɪʃ/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vampires

British Dictionary definitions for vampires

vampire

/ (ˈvæmpaɪə) /

noun

(in European folklore) a corpse that rises nightly from its grave to drink the blood of the living
a person who preys mercilessly upon others, such as a blackmailer
theatre a trapdoor on a stage

Derived Forms

vampiric (væmˈpɪrɪk) or vampirish, adjective

Word Origin for vampire

C18: from French, from German Vampir, from Magyar; perhaps related to Turkish uber witch, Russian upyr vampire
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

Culture definitions for vampires

vampires


Originally part of central European folklore, they now appear in horror stories as living corpses who need to feed on human blood. A vampire will leave his coffin at night, disguised as a great bat, to seek his innocent victims, bite their necks with his long, sharp teeth, and suck their blood.

Note

The most famous vampire is Count Dracula, from the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.