Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Greek Mythology A monster represented as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman that ate children and sucked the blood from men.
  • n. A female vampire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A monster with the head and breasts of a woman and the lower half of a serpent, which ate children and sucked the blood from men.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A monster capable of assuming a woman's form, who was said to devour human beings or suck their blood; a vampire; a sorceress; a witch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In fir. and Roman mythology, an enticing witch, who charmed children and youths for the purpose of feeding on their blood and flesh, like the later vampire; a female demon; hence, in general, a destroying witch or hag.
  • n. In zoology:
  • n. A Fabrician (1775) genus of longicorn beetles, now the type of the family Lamiidæ. L. ædilis is a species the male of which has antenæ) four times as long as the body.
  • n. A genus of sharks: same as Lamna.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (folklore) a corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • And "lamia" represents the original Lilith, a spirit of the night who in Hebrew legend is the demon wife of Adam.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • Points for Sansi the lamia, though - she was badass!

    Sea of Wind - Fuyumi Ono

  • I like the lamia-crazy stuff in there better. garfunkleandoates someone should release the whole movie without the cgi. abayarts you think it would of been easy to do this with the cartoon version instead. it was okay, webcomic is still better. greggorybasore

    VOTD: The Twist Ending That Should’ve Happened - Garfield Never Existed | /Film

  • John Justin Mallory has fun and games with the last lamia egg.

    Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror: Shell Game - Mike Resnick

  • There are varied stories about the origins of Lilith and the lamia, but she or something like her appears in Jewish, Greek, and Sumerian lore, just to name a few.

    Slayed

  • Some accounts say she was the first wife of Adam who refused to lie beneath him and flew out of the Garden of Eden to cavort with demons, giving birth to hundred of the lamia each night.

    Slayed

  • Also unlike Mom, he thought it was a good idea to find out what we could about the lamia.

    Slayed

  • I was just talking about the babies and how we should try to help before the lamia get any more of them.

    Slayed

  • The lamia are clawing their way out of a four-foot wide, fire-licked fissure that bisects the hollow.

    Slayed

  • I shudder and can hear the awful voices in my head as if the lamia were in the room with us.

    Slayed

Comments

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  • A definition that only existed in lexicographer Kory Stamper's mind for several seconds after receiving an e-mail about the word: "Mythical foolishness of no value whatsoever to enrich a person's thinking."

    May 2, 2013

  • "I could feel the faintly pebbled texture of the rash upon his skin, and the thought came unbidden of the lamia. A creature smooth and cool to the touch, a shape-shifter, passionately venomous, its nature infectious. A swift bite and the snake's poison spreading, slowing his heart, chilling his warm blood; I could imagine tiny scales rising under his skin in the dark."
    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 1176–1177

    January 29, 2010