Lamias

lamia

[ley-mee-uh]
noun, plural lamias, lamiae [ley-mee-ee] , for 1, 2.
1.
Classical Mythology. one of a class of fabulous monsters, commonly represented with the head and breast of a woman and the body of a serpent, said to allure youths and children in order to suck their blood.
2.
a vampire; a female demon.
3.
(initial capital letter, italics) a narrative poem (1819) by John Keats.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek lámia a female man-eater

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World English Dictionary
lamia (ˈleɪmɪə)
 
n , pl -mias, -miae
1.  classical myth one of a class of female monsters depicted with a snake's body and a woman's head and breasts
2.  a vampire or sorceress
 
[C14: via Latin from Greek Lamia]

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Word Origin & History

lamia
1382, from Gk., "female vampire," lit. "swallower, lecher," from laimos "throat, gullet." Probably cognate with L. lemures "spirits of the dead" (see lemur). Used in early translations of the Bible for screech owls and sea monsters.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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