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

  • n. The upper part of a boot or shoe covering the instep and sometimes extending over the toe.
  • n. Something patched up or refurbished.
  • n. Something rehashed, as a book based on old material.
  • n. Music An improvised accompaniment.
  • transitive v. To provide (a shoe) with a new vamp.
  • transitive v. To patch up (something old); refurbish.
  • transitive v. To put together; fabricate or improvise: With no hard news available about the summit meeting, the reporters vamped up questions based only on rumor.
  • transitive v. Music To improvise (an accompaniment, for example) for a solo.
  • intransitive v. Music To improvise simple accompaniment or variation of a tune.
  • n. A woman who uses her sex appeal to entrap and exploit men.
  • transitive v. To seduce or exploit (someone) in the manner of a vamp.
  • intransitive v. To play the part of a vamp.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something added to give an old thing a new appearance; a patch.
  • n. Something patched up, pieced together, improvised, or refurbished.
  • n. An activity or speech intended to fill time or stall.
  • n. A volunteer fire fighter.
  • v. To attach a vamp.
  • v. To walk.
  • v. To patch, repair, or refurbish.
  • v. to put together, improvise, or fabricate.
  • v. To perform a vamp; to perform a repeated, often improvised accompaniment, e.g. under dialogue or awaiting the readiness of a soloist.
  • v. To stall or delay, as for an audience.
  • v. To seduce or exploit someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To advance; to travel.
  • n. The part of a boot or shoe above the sole and welt, and in front of the ankle seam; an upper.
  • n. Any piece added to an old thing to give it a new appearance. See Vamp, v. t.
  • n. A usually improvized Jazz accompaniment, consisting of simple chords in sucession.
  • n. A woman who seduces men with her charm and wiles, in order to exploit them.
  • transitive v. To provide, as a shoe, with new upper leather; hence, to to piece, as any old thing, with a new part; to repair; to patch; -- often followed by up.
  • transitive v. To create with little skill; to concoct; to invent; -- usually with up.
  • v. To seduce (a man) sexually for purpose of exploitation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That part of the upper leather of a boot or shoe which is in front of the seam at the ankle. See cut under boot.
  • n. Any piece or patch intended to give an old thing a new appearance; a piece added for appearance' sake. See the verb.
  • n. A protection formerly worn for the ankle and leg, and perhaps for the foot also. It seems to have been in most cases a sort of gaiter or spatterdash.
  • n. In music, an improvised accompaniment.
  • To furnish with a new vamp or upper leather, as a shoe or boot.
  • To repair; furbish up; give an appearance of newness to.
  • In music, to improvise an accompaniment to.
  • To improvise musical accompaniments.
  • To travel; proceed; move forward.

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

  • n. an improvised musical accompaniment
  • v. act seductively with (someone)
  • v. make up
  • v. provide (a shoe) with a new vamp
  • v. piece (something old) with a new part
  • n. piece of leather forming the front part of the upper of a shoe
  • n. a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men


Middle English vampe, sock, from Old French avanpie : avaunt, before; see vanguard + pie, foot (from Latin pēs; see ped- in Indo-European roots).
Short for vampire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)
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. (Wiktionary)



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  • "4. In music, an improvised accompaniment.
    . . . .
    7. In music, to improvise an accompaniment to.
    8. To improvise musical accompaniments."

    --Century Dictionary

    October 5, 2010

  • as in revamp

    February 13, 2010

  • "Come on, let yourself be vamped" said a girl to Hastings in one of the Poirot novels

    April 11, 2009