Lamiae



[ley-mee-uh] /ˈleɪ mi ə/

noun, plural lamias, lamiae
[ley-mee-ee] /ˈleɪ miˌi/ (Show IPA), for 1, 2.
1.
Classical Mythology. one of a class of fabulous monsters, commonly represented with the head and breast of a woman and the body of a serpent, said to allure youths and children in order to suck their blood.
2.
a vampire; a female demon.
3.
(initial capital letter, italics) a narrative poem (1819) by John Keats.
/ˈleɪmɪə/
noun (pl) -mias, -miae (-mɪˌiː)
1.
(classical myth) one of a class of female monsters depicted with a snake’s body and a woman’s head and breasts
2.
a vampire or sorceress
n.

late 14c., from Latin lamia, from Greek lamia “female vampire,” literally “swallower, lecher,” from laimos “throat, gullet.” Probably cognate with Latin lemures “spirits of the dead” (see lemur). Used in early translations of the Bible for screech owls and sea monsters. Sometimes also, apparently, mermaids.

Also kynde erreþ in som beestes wondirliche j-schape, as it fareþ in a beest þat hatte lamia, þat haþ an heed as a mayde & body as a grym fissche[;] whan þat best lamya may fynde ony man, first a flatereþ wiþ hym with a wommannes face and makeþ hym ligge by here while he may dure, & whanne he may noferþere suffice to here lecherye þanne he rendeþ hym and sleþ and eteþ hym. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville’s “De proprietatibus rerum,” 1398]

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