Definition of vulture in English:



  • 1A large bird of prey with the head and neck more or less bare of feathers, feeding chiefly on carrion and reputed to gather with others in anticipation of the death of a sick or injured animal or person.

    • ‘Due to the pressures of so many birds trying to feed, the vultures gobble down chunks of flesh and can fill a crop with more than one and half a kilograms of meat in four to five minutes.’
    • ‘Gulls, hawks and vultures soar, swallows and terns skim the surface of water.’
    • ‘The most widely distributed vulture in the New World, the Turkey Vulture is a large, predominantly blackish-brown bird.’
    • ‘Farmers who traditionally leave dead animals to the vultures have to develop new practices.’
    • ‘After their release, the vultures are monitored by biologists and a network of observers across the Alps.’
    • ‘In the animal world, vultures serve a useful and necessary function - they clean up in the aftermath of death.’
    • ‘One of four species of vulture found in Europe, bearded vultures earned their name from a small tuft of dark feathers below their beaks.’
    • ‘The white droppings of birds served as location pointers for eagles and vultures nesting in the craggy reaches.’
    • ‘We come across vultures, at least a dozen of them, feeding on the remains of a young wild camel.’
    • ‘Like other New World vultures, California condors are scavengers; historically, they were seen feeding on dead beached whales.’
    • ‘Lieberman said they would have followed clues such as vultures circling in the distance.’
    • ‘But the common buzzard, found across much of Europe and Asia, is a hawk, not a vulture.’
    • ‘People who consider the carrion-eating habits of vultures disgusting might want to stop reading right now.’
    • ‘Scenes such as this where a group of vultures gather are becoming more rare in many places of Africa.’
    • ‘As far as other raptors go, you'd be hard-pressed to mistake an accipiter for a vulture or an eagle.’
    • ‘The prime minister had a bald head at the end of a vulture's neck, and a dragging lid over one eye.’
    • ‘A light onshore breeze ruffled the surface of the bay, a few feet away I watched a turkey buzzard or vulture fly by.’
    • ‘This is unusual, as vultures are highly efficient scavengers and are normally resistant to many diseases.’
    • ‘Apart from vultures, most birds don't seem to be adversely affected by the wind farms that make use of the region's most plentiful natural resource.’
    • ‘All condors belong to the same order as the vulture.’
  • 2A contemptible person who preys on or exploits others.

    ‘the press are vultures’
    as modifier ‘rock musicians are set upon by vulture managers’
    • ‘The capital markets are all but closed to the company, bar perhaps a few vulture funds picking at the bones of the rapidly thinning beast.’
    • ‘What was wrong with the system that was in place before all these vulture companies came along?’
    • ‘After my arrest the vultures who gathered, waiting for my carcass, weren't just after me.’
    • ‘Only the action of vulture investors buying into the company has prevented the share price falling into single digits.’
    • ‘He also knew that once Larry accepted the job, Artie would have to wine and dine him because that's when the other vulture agents would fly in to seize him.’
    • ‘If you are a Leeds fan, you see vultures gathering to take away your stars; if you are a Premiership manager in the marketplace you know that there are deals to be done.’
    • ‘Kinder than the rest of his vulture kind, he asked, ‘When will the wedding be?’’
    • ‘Such vulture funds buy shares in investment trusts and then force a vote of stockholders which can compel trusts to offer a cash exit to shareholders at close to net asset value.’
    • ‘The former NYSE chief valiantly came forward to admit to the gross sum, knowing some vulture in the press would dig it out anyway.’
    • ‘But now they were tearing each other to pieces, and their vulture lawyers would pick at the carcass of their marriage.’
    • ‘The press was an absolute vulture when President Bush's National Guard record was questioned.’
    • ‘For one thing, vulture investors may be unwilling to go through the red tape involved in obtaining a license to run a casino in New Jersey.’
    • ‘We made our way through the vultures answering a bare minimum of questions and sped away from the hospital.’
    • ‘In the NHS, for example, vulture private firms now make a fortune from privatisation schemes, while nurses and other health workers suffer low pay and long working hours.’
    • ‘And there may be some current bond-holders who are simply following vulture instincts.’
    • ‘For Embler, bagging the money may require tough-guy tactics, but that's just how he plays the vulture game.’
    • ‘The slowdown in the commercial property market in Ireland may lead to vulture funds looking to obtain short-term value in the Irish market.’
    • ‘But people complain that traders have become like vultures in exploiting the situation and doubling prices.’
    • ‘The vulture paparazzi caricaturised themselves and the passing of time has put that photo shoot into its true perspective.’
    • ‘She glanced at the study door, caught the vulture look in Primus's eyes, and smiled sweetly.’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French vultur, from Latin vulturius.