As defined in the Encarta World English Dictionary [North American Edition]…
vam·pire [vám p r ] (plural vam·pires) noun
1. MYTHOLOGY bloodsucking evil spirit: in European folklore, a dead person believed to rise each night from the grave and suck blood from the living for sustenance

2. somebody predatory: somebody who preys on other people for financial or emotional gain

3. ZOOLOGY See vampire bat

4. THEATER trap door: a trap door on the floor of a stage (technical)

[Mid-18th century. Via French or German from Serbo-Croat vampir , of uncertain origin: perhaps via Russian from Kazan Tatar ubyr "witch."]

vam·pir·ic [vam p rik ] adjective
vam·pir·i·cal [vam p rik'l ] adjective
vam·pir·ish [vám p rish ] adjective

Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Vampires as referenced in…
In folklore, a vampire is a malign spirit — usually believed to be a restless soul of a heretic, criminal or suicide — that refuses to join the ranks of the dead but instead leaves its burial place — in its original body or taking possession of another's corpse — and becomes a bloodsucking creature in order to continue enjoying the pleasures of the living.

The belief in vampires dates back to antiquity. Ancient Mesopotamians feared that corpses not properly buried would rise from their graves and attack the living to suck their blood.

Western notions of the vampire come primarily from Slavic folklore, especially as it was interpreted by the author Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula (1897). In some isolated regions of eastern Europe, peasants still hang wreaths of garlic over their doors — a preventive measure cited in Dracula — as protection against evil spirits, but many other aspects of Stoker's story may have been his own invention.

Dictionary of Vampires

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