1 [vamp]
the portion of a shoe or boot upper that covers the instep and toes.
something patched up or pieced together.
Jazz. an accompaniment, usually improvised, consisting of a succession of simple chords.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with a vamp, especially to repair (a shoe or boot) with a new vamp.
to patch up; repair.
to give (something) a new appearance by adding a patch or piece.
to concoct or invent (often followed by up ): He vamped up a few ugly rumors to discredit his enemies.
Jazz. to improvise (an accompaniment or the like).
verb (used without object)
Jazz. to improvise an accompaniment, tune, etc.

1175–1225; Middle English vampe < Anglo-French; Middle French avant-pie, equivalent to avant- fore- (see avaunt) + pie foot (French pied; see -ped)

vamper, noun
vampish, adjective Unabridged


2 [vamp]
a seductive woman who uses her sensuality to exploit men.
verb (used with object)
to use feminine charms upon; seduce.
verb (used without object)
to act as a vamp.

1905–10; short for vampire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To vamp
World English Dictionary
vamp1 (væmp)
1.  a seductive woman who exploits men by use of her sexual charms
2.  to exploit (a man) in the fashion of a vamp
[C20: short for vampire]

vamp2 (væmp)
1.  something patched up to make it look new
2.  the reworking of a theme, story, etc
3.  an improvised accompaniment, consisting largely of chords
4.  the front part of the upper of a shoe
vb (often foll by up)
5.  to give a vamp to; make a renovation of
6.  to improvise (an accompaniment) to (a tune)
[C13: from Old French avantpié the front part of a shoe (hence, something patched), from avant- fore- + pié foot, from Latin pēs]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"extemporize on a piano," 1789, originally a noun meaning "part of a stocking that covers the foot and ankle" (early 13c.), from Anglo-Norm. *vaumpé, from O.Fr. avantpié, from avant "in front" + pié "foot." Sense evolved to "provide a stocking with a new vamp" (1590s), to "patch
up, repair" (cf. revamp) to "extemporize."

"seductive woman," 1911, short for vampire. First attested use is earlier than the release of the Fox film "A Fool There Was" (January 1915), with sultry Theda Bara in the role of The Vampire. But the movie was based on a play of that name that had been a Broadway hit (title
and concept from a Kipling poem, "The Vampire"), and the word may ultimately trace to Bara's role. At any rate, Bara (real name Theodosia Goodman) remains the classic vamp.
A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care)
But the fool, he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I.)

[Kipling, "The Vampire"]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Set to a soundtrack that swerves from punk to hip-hop to disco to silence, a dozen dancers vamp and pose and gyrate.
For added comfort, there's a full terry loop leg and a non-terry vamp to eliminate bulk at the ankle.
Her character is neither a simple ingenue nor a vamp.
And then it turns out his vamp brother wants her too.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature