Main definitions of vamp in English

: vamp1vamp2

vamp1

noun

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

    ‘heavy lace-ups with basket weave in the vamp’
    • ‘Further, the blue of the ribbon is echoed by the detail of blue-green vamps on the tips of his shoes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 sandal has the extra details of a butterfly at the vamp and a more wrapped strap around the ankle.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2(in jazz and popular music) a short, simple introductory passage, usually repeated several times until otherwise instructed.

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

verb

  • 1vamp something upinformal with object Repair or improve something.

    ‘the production values have been vamped up’
    • ‘Producers have vamped up the usually dull earlier rounds by giving contestants a band and audience to sing with.’
    • ‘If you are a silver person, then vamp up your wardrobe with silver clothes and accessories.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sarah talks about vamping up your closet using what you have.’
    • ‘The theme song has been vamped up.’
    • ‘Over the past year we have really vamped up the show.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His sister Coleen, a designer in New York, vamped up the interiors.’
    refurbish, renovate, modernize, redecorate, revamp, make over, restore, recondition, rehabilitate, overhaul, repair, redevelop, rebuild, reconstruct, remodel
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  • 2no 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.’
    • ‘All the band does during these parts is just vamp.’
    • ‘Their performances often consisted of the group vamping on a single groove for two hours at a time.’
    • ‘Like pieces from a musician, her collection of poetry vamps through various repeated patterns and themes truly fulfilling the ‘ostinato’ description in her title.’
  • 3with 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.’

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 seductive woman who uses her sexual attractiveness to exploit men.

    ‘the film-makers never allow her to become a truly saucy vamp’
    • ‘I found her transformation from school ma'am to vamp ridiculous.’
    • ‘This vamp doesn't really believe her man is coming.’
    • ‘Bollywood was a risqué world with money but little class where the vamps flashed thigh and cleavage and the heroes kept their shirts unbuttoned.’
    • ‘She transformed from frump to vamp for her role as the Wife of Bath.’
    • ‘She hated playing vamps, and she makes the most of every chance to expand her screen persona presented in this movie.’
    • ‘It's as if she can't make up her mind whether she wants to be a siren, a vamp or a frump.’
    • ‘The world at the inn is one dominated by women - the nymphet, the vamp, the spinster and a handful of old crones.’
    • ‘I rejoice when I see vamps lighting up on screen.’
    • ‘She connects with audiences as easily in lighthearted tap numbers as she does as sizzling vamps.’
    • ‘The celebrity photographer was hauled in to snap her as a 1940s vamp.’
    • ‘That is why female impersonators love to impersonate vamps.’
    • ‘She plays virgin and vamp, giving mixed messages that only reinforce our polar images of femininity.’
    • ‘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.’
    seductress, temptress, siren, femme fatale, enchantress, delilah, circe, lorelei, mata hari
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verb

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

    ‘she had not vamped him like some wicked Jezebel’
    • ‘She vamps him by saying, ‘Your royal highness is so cute.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He gets vamped by every woman from his flirtatious mom to Ophelia.’
    seduce, tempt, lure, beguile, entice
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Origin

Early 20th century: abbreviation of vampire.

Pronunciation

vamp

/vamp/