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

  • n. Any of various large birds of prey of the New World family Cathartidae or of the Old World family Accipitridae, characteristically having dark plumage and a featherless head and neck and generally feeding on carrion.
  • n. A person of a rapacious, predatory, or profiteering nature.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several carrion-eating birds of the families Accipitridae and Cathartidae.
  • n. A person who profits from the suffering of others.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of rapacious birds belonging to Vultur, Cathartes, Catharista, and various other genera of the family Vulturidæ.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of sundry large birds, of the order Raptores, which have the head and neck more or less bare of feathers, the beak and claws less powerful than in most birds of prey, and which feed largely or wholly upon carrion.
  • n. Figuratively, one who or that which resembles a vulture, especially in rapacity or in the thirst for prey.
  • n. The Vultur monachus.

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

  • n. someone who attacks in search of booty
  • n. any of various large diurnal birds of prey having naked heads and weak claws and feeding chiefly on carrion


Middle English, from Old French voltour, from Latin vultur.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin vultur, voltur. (Wiktionary)



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  • The Vulture eats between his meals,
    And that's the reason why
    He very, very, rarely feels
    As well as you and I.

    His eye is dull, his head is bald,
    His neck is growing thinner.
    Oh! what a lesson for us all
    To only eat at dinner!

    (Hilaire Belloc)

    January 1, 2008