Definition of vampire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvampʌɪə/


1(In European folklore) a corpse supposed to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth.
Example sentences
  • What must he do to save his neck from the vampires who are after his blood?
  • My parents were also vampires, and they drank blood to keep themselves alive.
  • They found a coffin and when they opened it up, a vampire jumped out and drank their blood.
1.1A person who preys ruthlessly on others: the protectionist vampires in the Congress
More example sentences
  • He is the perpetually hungry scholar, too desiccated by poverty to return her love, a vampire preying on her bountiful spirit.
  • There is still a place for vampires in the urban jungles where humanity habitually preys upon itself.
  • Though they seem nice, they are actually power-hungry vampires, who manipulate you once you let your guard down.
2 (also vampire bat) A small bat that feeds on the blood of mammals or birds using its two sharp incisor teeth and anticoagulant saliva, found mainly in tropical America. See also false vampire.
  • Family Desmodontidae (or Phyllostomidae): three species, in particular the common vampire (Desmodus rotundus).
Example sentences
  • It is quite common for a vampire bat to fail to feed on a given night.
  • When a vampire bat bites an animal, its saliva introduces an anticlotting agent to keep the blood meal flowing.
  • Some scientists have suggested that the vampire bat developed its blood-sucking practice while it was an insect-eater, as most bats are.
3 (also vampire trap) (In a theatre) a small spring trapdoor used for sudden disappearances from a stage.
Example sentences
  • Depending on its placement, the vampire trap made the actor alternately body and spirit.
  • To operate the vampire trap the dancer threw herself against a couple of shutters in the stage floor, which opened to let her through and immediately closed.



Pronunciation: /vamˈpɪrɪk/
Example sentences
  • Lee, in particular, was keen to find a role which would help the public think of him as something other than Dracula, the vampiric count he had played in several Hammer films.
  • Apparently plants are vampiric in nature and thrive on blood.
  • I truly looked vampiric - all I needed was the teeth and a small dribble of blood from my mouth to complete the look.


Example sentences
  • The heroine's vampirish double appears to Laura in the night at the foot of her bed.
  • His makeup gives him a kind of vampirish cast.
  • One of the latest weird trends in Japan consists of using artificial fangs so that they stick out a little bit and give you a vampirish look.


Mid 18th century: from French, from Hungarian vampir, perhaps from Turkish uber 'witch'.

  • The best-known vampire is Count Dracula in Dracula by Bram Stoker, but these blood-sucking corpses of folklore had caught the public imagination long before the book was published in 1897. They had appeared in English since the mid 18th century, and in 1819 The Vampyre by John William Polidori had been a huge popular success. The word is from Hungarian vampir, perhaps from Turkish uber ‘witch’. The 20th-century film industry gave vampires and vampirism a great publicity boost, as well as introducing the vamp or vampish heroine.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vam|pire

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