pl. n. vampires; adj. vampiric; v. to vamp, vamping, to vamp out, vamping out; n. vampirism
1. in Eastern European folk mythology, the reanimated body of a dead person believed to rise from the grave at night and suck the blood of sleeping victims; French, from German Vampir, from Serbo-Croatian vampir; 18th c.
2. in modern fantasy and occult fiction, a variety of monster inspired by the eponymous character of Dracula, written by Irish author Bram Stoker (1847-1912). Also revenant, leech, ghoul, vrykolakas, strigoi, nachzehrer, nightwalker, blutsauger, blooddrinker, nightcrawler, anthropophagus.
3. in fantasy and occult game milieux, undead creatures based on the vampires of fiction; examples of games with vampires include Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire: The Masquerade.
4. In the Twilight books of author Stephanie Meyer, some kind of sparkling douchebag.
5. refers to members of a sub-cultural movement composed of borderline psychotics who imagine that they are actual vampires, either imitating vampire behavior through dress and consuming small quantities of human blood, or by adopting a “New Age” belief system in which they draw “psychic energy” from others.
Addendum: The original Eastern European vampire, a shambling mindless ghoul reanimated by sins in life and who feeds on flesh, has little to do with the frill-shirted Romantic sophisticates sipping blood from crystal wine goblets popularized by Anne Rice and her imitators. Even the ultra-sensitivity to sunlight is a recent invention, which does not exist in Stoker’s writings. An excellent academic account of the origins of the vampire myth is Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality by Paul Barber.
Addendum #2: Players of the Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, and in particular players of the Vampire LARP, should never be confused with the nutcases of definition #5. Vampire LARPS are not vampire cults. Vampire LARP players do not believe they are really vampires. An individual’s attraction to occult RPGs bears no correlation to their actual level of belief in the occult; as a matter of fact, an actual occultist (if there is such a thing) might find occult RPGs to be insulting.