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[vuhl-cher] /ˈvʌl tʃər/
any of several large, primarily carrion-eating Old World birds of prey of the family Accipitridae, often having a naked head and less powerful feet than those of the related hawks and eagles.
any of several superficially similar New World birds of the family Cathartidae, as the turkey vulture.
a person or thing that preys, especially greedily or unscrupulously:
That vulture would sell out his best friend.
1325-75; Middle English < Latin vultur
Related forms
vulturelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vultures
  • They fear that the site will attract coyotes, flies, and vultures.
  • The disadvantage of waiting is that the vultures come out and make offers.
  • Large vultures, vitally necessary and once numbering in the tens of millions, now face extinction.
  • It is a story of corruption and people whose seed to this day should be strung up and left for the vultures.
  • Similar statements are frequently made, usually about vultures.
  • It was a wild place then, with pigs running around and vultures circling.
  • They wander along long enough until they happen upon a city that has an alarmingly high number of vultures circling overhead.
  • Various vultures have featherless necks, presumably to stop the blood and gore from their meals matting their plumage.
  • Jackals and hyenas are the scavengers of the land whereas vultures are the undisputed scavengers of the air.
  • The vultures will have nothing to eat, about as much as the peoples in the countries who are being prayed upon.
British Dictionary definitions for vultures


any of various very large diurnal birds of prey of the genera Neophron, Gyps, Gypaetus, etc, of Africa, Asia, and warm parts of Europe, typically having broad wings and soaring flight and feeding on carrion: family Accipitridae (hawks) See also griffon1 (sense 2), lammergeier
any similar bird of the family Cathartidae of North, Central, and South America See also condor, turkey buzzard
a person or thing that preys greedily and ruthlessly on others, esp the helpless
Derived Forms
vulture-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French voltour, from Latin vultur; perhaps related to Latin vellere to pluck, tear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for vultures



late 14c., from Anglo-French vultur, Old French voultour, from Latin vultur, earlier voltur, perhaps related to vellere "to pluck, to tear." Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vultures in the Bible

(1.) Heb. da'ah (Lev. 11:14). In the parallel passage (Deut. 14:13) the Hebrew word used is _ra'ah_, rendered "glede;" LXX., "gups;" Vulg., "milvus." A species of ravenous bird, distinguished for its rapid flight. "When used without the epithet 'red,' the name is commonly confined to the black kite. The habits of the bird bear out the allusion in Isa. 34:15, for it is, excepting during the winter three months, so numerous everywhere in Palestine as to be almost gregarious." (See EAGLE.) (2.) In Job 28:7 the Heb. 'ayyah is thus rendered. The word denotes a clamorous and a keen-sighted bird of prey. In Lev. 11:14 and Deut. 14:13 it is rendered "kite" (q.v.).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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