vul·ture | \ˈvəl-chər \

Definition of vulture 

1 : any of various large birds (families Accipitridae and Cathartidae) that are related to the hawks, eagles, and falcons but have weaker claws and the head usually naked and that subsist chiefly or entirely on carrion

2 : a rapacious or predatory person

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from vulture

vulturish \ˈvəl-chə-rish \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for vulture


bloodsucker, harpy, predator, shark, vampire, wolf



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of vulture in a Sentence

As soon as they learned of his arrest, the media vultures started circling. noted that the paparazzi are vultures who could not exist without the connivance of the tabloid-buying public

Recent Examples on the Web

While West has managed to quash expectations with his sturdy work ethic, his eccentricity is what always allows him to stand out in a room full of vultures. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Kanye West Receives Autographed Dennis Rodman Jersey, Calls Him 'One of His Biggest Inspirations'," 10 July 2018 Suddenly the vulture on the album artwork seems a little more disturbing. Paige Williams, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots' 'Trench': Decoding the Clues They've Left About Their New Album," 12 July 2018 Thais Caraganis, a volunteer and intern at the center, said vulture populations are declining in both India and Africa. Annie Gentile, Courant Community, "Horizon Wings Celebrates Earth Day," 8 May 2018 Mararv and the rangers swept low over the area for the next 45 minutes, finally spotting an eddy of vultures, which indicated a carcass below. Tristan Mcconnell, GQ, "The Bloody Toll of Congo's Elephant Wars," 16 Apr. 2018 Spradley has seen similar scattering by vultures at her Texas body farm. Rob O'dell, azcentral, "What dead pigs can teach us about missing bodies in the Arizona desert," 5 July 2018 Female alligators are particularly territorial and protective of their young in the summer until about September, Magill said, when raccoons and vultures seek out the eggs. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "An alligator trapped a teenage girl in a tree. Then a deputy arrived with an AR-15.," 3 July 2018 The most high profile is Etosha National Park, home to around 500 lions, or half the country’s population, as well as birds like ostriches and vultures, elephants, and, of course, cheetahs. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in August," 27 June 2018 Rescuers miraculously found him by following the circling vultures overhead. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "People Keep Finding Bodies in Joshua Tree," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vulture.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of vulture

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vulture

Middle English vultur, from Anglo-French, from Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vulture

Statistics for vulture

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vulture

The first known use of vulture was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vulture



English Language Learners Definition of vulture

: any one of several large birds that eat dead animals and have a small and featherless head

: a person who tries to take advantage of someone who is in a very bad situation


vul·ture | \ˈvəl-chər \

Kids Definition of vulture

: a large bird related to the hawks and eagles that has a head bare of feathers and feeds mostly on dead animals

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vulture

What made you want to look up vulture? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!