Jun 3, 2015

Etymology Expeditions: Vampires

Vampire, noun. We all know the bloodsucker definition, maybe even the vampire bat, but what about this: "a woman who exploits and ruins her lover"? Apparently, this is where the term "vamp" originates. Origin is French, from German Vampir, from Serbian vampir. Maybe from Kazan Tatar ubyr=witch, but the experts don't agree about that one. 

Vrykolaka is a Greek vampire. The term is probably delivered from an older Slavic compound term 'vblk'b dlaka', which originally meant wolf pelt wearer.  

Strigoi in Romania. From latin striga=hag, evil spirit, from strix=screech owl. (Compare with Italian strega=witch)

Lamia from Latin lamia=witch

Nosferatu. This one is a bit tricky. Possibilities include Greek nosophoros= disease-bearing,  the Latin verb spirare in a form that means "not-breathing",  and Latin nox=night+ fero=to bring, "the bringer of night". Or maybe a misspelling of Romanian necuratu, nesuferitu, nefârtatu meaning "the unclean", "the insufferable one" and "the devil".

A bonus one:

Dracula from Romanian drac= devil from Latin draco=dragon


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