noun \ˈvam-ˌpī(-ə)r\

in stories : a dead person who leaves the grave at night to bite and suck the blood of living people

Full Definition of VAMPIRE

:  the reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave at night and suck the blood of persons asleep
a :  one who lives by preying on others
b :  a woman who exploits and ruins her lover
vam·pir·ic \vam-ˈpir-ik\ adjective
vam·pir·ish \ˈvam-ˌpī(-ə)r-ish\ adjective

Examples of VAMPIRE

  1. <regarded debt collectors as vampires who made a living from the misery of others>

Illustration of VAMPIRE

Origin of VAMPIRE

French, from German Vampir, from Serbian vampir
First Known Use: 1732

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms

elysian, fay, muse, nimbus, phoenix


noun \ˈvam-ˌpī(ə)r\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of VAMPIRE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Bela Lugosi with Frances Dade in Dracula (1931).—Courtesy of Universal Pictures; photograph, The Bettmann Archive

In popular legend, a bloodsucking creature that rises from its burial place at night, sometimes in the form of a bat, to drink the blood of humans. By daybreak it must return to its grave or to a coffin filled with its native earth. Tales of vampires are part of the world's folklore, most notably in Hungary and the Balkan Peninsula. The disinterment in Serbia in 1725 and 1732 of several fluid-filled corpses that villagers claimed were behind a plague of vampirism led to widespread interest and imaginative treatment of vampirism throughout western Europe. Vampires are supposedly dead humans (originally suicides, heretics, or criminals) who maintain a kind of life by biting the necks of living humans and sucking their blood; their victims also become vampires after death. These “undead” creatures cast no shadow and are not reflected in mirrors. They can be warded off by crucifixes or wreaths of garlic and can be killed by exposure to the sun or by an oak stake driven through the heart. The most famous vampire is Count Dracula from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897).


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