1. A blood-sucking ghost; a soul of a dead person superstitiously believed to come from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep, thus causing their death. This superstition is now prevalent in parts of Eastern Europe, and was especially current in Hungary about the year 1730. "The persons who turn vampires are generally wizards, witches, suicides, and persons who have come to a violent end, or have been cursed by their parents or by the church," (Encyc. Brit)
3. <zoology> Either one of two or more species of South American blood-sucking bats belonging to the genera Desmodus and Diphylla. These bats are destitute of molar teeth, but have strong, sharp cutting incisors with which they make punctured wounds from which they suck the blood of horses, cattle, and other animals, as well as man, chiefly during sleep. They have a caecal appendage to the stomach, in which the blood with which they gorge themselves is stored.
4. <zoology> Any one of several species of harmless tropical American bats of the genus Vampyrus, especially V. Spectrum. These bats feed upon insects and fruit, but were formerly erroneously supposed to suck the blood of man and animals. Called also false vampire.
Origin: F. Vampire (cf. It. Vampiro, G. & D. Vampir), fr. Servian vampir
Alternative forms: vampyre.
(01 Mar 1998)
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