Last modified on 2 June 2014, at 14:35

EnglishEdit

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PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Anglo-Norman *vaumpé (part of a stocking that covers the top of the foot), from Old French avantpié, from avant (in front) + pié (foot). See pied (foot).

  • (something patched up, cobbled together, improvised): extended from 'shoe part' sense.
  • (repeated, improvised musical figure): extended from 'improvised' sense.
  • (activity to fill in time): extended from 'repeated musical figure' sense.

NounEdit

vamp (plural vamps)

  1. The top part of a boot or shoe, above the sole and welt and in front of the ankle seam, that covers the instep and toes; the front part of an upper; the analogous part of a stocking. [ca. 1225]
  2. Something added to give an old thing a new appearance; a patch.
  3. Something patched up, pieced together, improvised, or refurbished.
  4. (music) A repeated and often improvised accompaniment, usually consisting of one or two measures, often a single chord or simple chord progression, repeated as necessary, e.g., to accommodate dialogue or to anticipate the entrance of a soloist. [ca. 1789]
    • 2005, Steve Swayne, How Sondheim Found his Sound,
      I would go even further and say that, once Sondheim had ceased to compose classical music with its nonspecific accompaniments, he began to explore how effectively a vamp can flesh out a character for the stage. He had little need to write distinctive vamps for his Williams shows, but already in 1954—before the highly characteristic vamps in West Side Story—we see him growing in his ability to get under a character's skin through his accompaniment.
  5. An activity or speech intended to fill time or stall.
  6. A volunteer fire fighter.
    • 1892, Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.). Fire Dept, Our firemen: the official history of the Brooklyn Fire Department, from the first volunteer to the latest appointee,
      John Mackin was among the number of "old vamps" who made application to the first Board of Fire ...
    • 2000, Turner Publishing Company, Atlanta Fire Department: Commemorative Yearbook,
      The vamps had to carry their equipment to the fire on foot!
    • 2008, John Delin, Syosset People and Places,
      Volunteer firemen are called vamps because they often went to fires on foot, vamp being an old English word for "walk." Syosset's first vamps responded quickly to fires and formed bucket brigades to extinguish them.
See alsoEdit

VerbEdit

vamp (third-person singular simple present vamps, present participle vamping, simple past and past participle vamped)

  1. (shoemaking) To attach a vamp.
  2. To walk.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles,
      "To be sure—I'd quite forgot it in my thoughts of greater things! Well, vamp on to Marlott, will ye, and order that carriage, and maybe I'll drive round and inspect the club."
  3. To patch, repair, or refurbish.
    • 1860, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life,
      'Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show my spirit.' 'Not so,' says the good Heaven; 'plod and plough, vamp your old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine by and by.'
  4. (often as vamp up) to put together, improvise, or fabricate.
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby,
      For instance, you take the uncompleted books of living authors, fresh from their hands, wet from the press, cut, hack, and carve them to the powers and capacities of your actors, and the capability of your theatres, finish unfinished works, hastily and crudely vamp up ideas not yet worked out by their original projector, but which have doubtless cost him many thoughtful days and sleepless nights; ...
    • 1911, G. K. Chesterton, The Flying Stars, in The Innocence of Father Brown,
      With real though rude art, the harlequin danced slowly backwards out of the door into the garden, which was full of moonlight and stillness. The vamped dress of silver paper and paste, which had been too glaring in the footlights, looked more and more magical and silvery as it danced away under a brilliant moon.
  5. (music) To perform a vamp; to perform a repeated, often improvised accompaniment, e.g. under dialogue or awaiting the readiness of a soloist.
    • 1905, George Bernard Shaw, The Irrational Knot,
      "It is so unkind to joke about it," said the beautiful young lady. "What shall I do? If somebody will vamp an accompaniment, I can get on very well without any music. But if I try to play for myself I shall break down."
    • 1954, Alexander Alderson, chapter 4, The Subtle Minotaur[1]:
      The band played ceaselessly. Even when the other instruments were resting the pianist kept up his monotonous vamping, with a dreary furbelow for embellishment here and there, to which some few of the dancers continued to shuffle round the floor.
  6. To stall or delay, as for an audience.
    Keep vamping! Something's wrong with the mic!
    She went out there to vamp since the speaker was late arriving.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Short for vampire. From a character type developed first for silent film, notably for Theda Bara's role in the 1915 film A Fool There Was.

NounEdit

vamp (plural vamps)

  1. A flirtatious, seductive woman, especially one who uses sexual desire to exploit men. [ca. 1915]
    • 1919, Theatre Magazine, volume 29, page 389,
      It is the vamp who has a sense of humor that can really hold a man. She laughs at him, even as she is seeking to allure him — and he adores it.
    • 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned,
      She was got up to the best of her ability as a siren, more popularly a "vamp"—a picker up and thrower away of men, an unscrupulous and fundamentally unmoved toyer with affections.
    • 1927, G. K. Chesterton, The Actor and the Alibi, in The Secret of Father Brown,
      "Lady Miriam?" said Jarvis in surprise. "Oh, yes. ... I suppose you mean that she looks a queer sort of vamp. But you've no notion what even the ladies of the best families are looking like nowadays. Besides, is there any particular reason for doubting their evidence?"
    • 1936, G. K. Chesterton, The Vampire of the Village, published first in Strand Magazine, then in later editions of The Scandal of Father Brown,
      'Well, her seclusion is considered suspicious. She annoys them by being good-looking and even what is called good style. And all the young men are warned against her as a vamp.'
  2. (informal) A vampire.
    • 1992, Robert Marrero, Dracula: the vampire legend on film (page 20)
      The leader of the vampire cult (played by Ramon D'Salva) leads his cult of fellow vamps in an attack []
SynonymsEdit
Derived termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

vamp (third-person singular simple present vamps, present participle vamping, simple past and past participle vamped)

  1. (transitive) To seduce or exploit someone.
    • 1936, G. K. Chesterton, The Vampire of the Village, published first in Strand Magazine, then in later editions of The Scandal of Father Brown,
      'People who lose all their charity generally lose all their logic,' remarked Father Brown. 'It's rather ridiculous to complain that she keeps to herself; and then accuse her of vamping the whole male population.'

ItalianEdit

EtymologyEdit

English

NounEdit

vamp f (invariable)

  1. vamp (flirtatious woman)