Main definitions of vamp in English

: vamp1vamp2

vamp1

noun

  • 1The upper front part of a boot or shoe.

    • ‘It was also interesting to see how she prepares her pointe shoes with long threads stitched across the top of the vamp, a labor of love in itself.’
    • ‘As far a cross-trainers are concerned, there are four models available, all characterized by decisive and showy styling accented by a richly-detailed vamp.’
    • ‘The pump was the basic shoe, but its toes might be cut, the vamps curved or cut in enticing Vs, or the heels molded into a variety of shapes.’
    • ‘The sandal has the extra details of a butterfly at the vamp and a more wrapped strap around the ankle.’
    • ‘Further, the blue of the ribbon is echoed by the detail of blue-green vamps on the tips of his shoes.’
  • 2(in jazz and popular music) a short, simple introductory passage, usually repeated several times until otherwise instructed.

    • ‘Its relentless bass vamp is likely to plough a deep furrow through your consciousness.’
    • ‘After a short, nearly atonal string interlude, the rhythm section breaks in with an Arabic-sounding, odd-metered vamp.’
    • ‘Instead of returning to the original melody, they play a countermelody against the vamp.’
    • ‘Her section of the tune ends quickly, leading to an instrumental vamp with layers and layers of woodwinds and some nice acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘The trombone takes over the vamp.’

verb

  • 1[with object] Attach a new upper to (a boot or shoe)

    • ‘Stitching together the ends of a shoe upper is ordinarily the practice as a preliminary step to vamping the shoe.’
    1. 1.1informal Repair or improve something.
      ‘the production values have been vamped up’
      • ‘His sister Coleen, a designer in New York, vamped up the interiors.’
      • ‘Over the past year we have really vamped up the show.’
      • ‘The theme song has been vamped up.’
      • ‘The Mayor said the garden, which will vamp up the area between Waterside and Edgecombe Court, is to be a memorial to the town's 19th Century industrial heritage.’
      • ‘Producers have vamped up the usually dull earlier rounds by giving contestants a band and audience to sing with.’
      • ‘Sarah talks about vamping up your closet using what you have.’
      • ‘If a story can be vamped up, it will be vamped up, because that's the survival route for both individual journalists and for the media outlets as well.’
      • ‘If you are a silver person, then vamp up your wardrobe with silver clothes and accessories.’
  • 2[no object] Repeat a short, simple passage of music.

    ‘the band was vamping gently behind his busy lead guitar’
    • ‘The song doesn't ask much of her range, allowing her to vamp as much as she wants.’
    • ‘However, rather than serving as binges between two sections with different main meters, these asymmetric constructions become the basis for extended vamping and unusual grooves.’
    • ‘Their performances often consisted of the group vamping on a single groove for two hours at a time.’
    • ‘All the band does during these parts is just vamp.’
    • ‘Like pieces from a musician, her collection of poetry vamps through various repeated patterns and themes truly fulfilling the ‘ostinato’ description in her title.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting the foot of a stocking): shortening of Old French avantpie, from avant before + pie foot The musical sense of the verb developed from the general sense improvise.

Pronunciation:

vamp

/vamp/

Main definitions of vamp in English

: vamp1vamp2

vamp2

noun

informal
  • A woman who uses sexual attraction to exploit men.

    • ‘I found her transformation from school ma'am to vamp ridiculous.’
    • ‘That is why female impersonators love to impersonate vamps.’
    • ‘She transformed from frump to vamp for her role as the Wife of Bath.’
    • ‘Bollywood was a risqué world with money but little class where the vamps flashed thigh and cleavage and the heroes kept their shirts unbuttoned.’
    • ‘The legend of Mata Hari is, for sure, the most enduring image of the female spy - the vamp who wheedles state secrets out of men by her seductive charms.’
    • ‘She connects with audiences as easily in lighthearted tap numbers as she does as sizzling vamps.’
    • ‘I rejoice when I see vamps lighting up on screen.’
    • ‘This vamp doesn't really believe her man is coming.’
    • ‘The celebrity photographer was hauled in to snap her as a 1940s vamp.’
    • ‘It's as if she can't make up her mind whether she wants to be a siren, a vamp or a frump.’
    • ‘She hated playing vamps, and she makes the most of every chance to expand her screen persona presented in this movie.’
    • ‘She plays virgin and vamp, giving mixed messages that only reinforce our polar images of femininity.’
    • ‘The world at the inn is one dominated by women - the nymphet, the vamp, the spinster and a handful of old crones.’
    seductress, temptress, siren, femme fatale, enchantress, delilah, circe, lorelei, mata hari
    flirt, coquette, tease, lolita
    tart, mantrap
    hoochie
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Blatantly set out to attract.

    ‘she had not vamped him like some wicked Jezebel’
    • ‘Indeed, Lila pulls out all the stops to escape punishment, from vamping her former lover, to playing upon his guilt, to attempting to kill him.’
    • ‘And go for it she does, vamping him with abandon.’
    • ‘He gets vamped by every woman from his flirtatious mom to Ophelia.’
    • ‘She vamps him by saying, ‘Your royal highness is so cute.’’
    • ‘The only problem is that he is constantly drawn to Harlem's Paddy's Bar where he is ceaselessly vamped by the fun-loving Zarita.’
    seduce, tempt, lure, beguile, entice
    flirt with, make up to, make eyes at, lead on, toy with, trifle with, philander with
    pull, chat up
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 20th century: abbreviation of vampire.

Pronunciation:

vamp

/vamp/