"seductive woman who exploits men," 1911, short for vampire. First attested use is earlier than the release of the Fox film "A Fool There Was" (January 1915), with sultry Theda Bara in the role of The Vampire. The movie was based on a play of that name that had been on Broadway in 1909 (title and concept from a Kipling poem, "The Vampire," inspired by a Burne-Jones painting). The stage lead seems to have been played by Kathryn Kaelred and Bernice Golden Henderson. At any rate, Bara (born Theodosia Goodman) remains the classic vamp and the word's wide currency is attributable to her performance.
A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care)
But the fool, he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I.)
[Kipling, from "The Vampire"]
late 14c., babi, "infant of either sex," diminutive of babe (see babe) with -y (3). Meaning "childish adult person" is from c. 1600. Meaning "youngest of a group" is by 1897. As a term of endearment for one's lover it is attested perhaps as early as 1839, certainly by 1901 (OED writes, "the degree of slanginess in the nineteenth-century examples is not easily determinable"); its popularity perhaps boosted by baby vamp "a popular girl" (see vamp (n.2)), student slang from c. 1922.
Meaning "minute reflection of oneself seen in another's eyes" is from 1590s (compare pupil (n.2)). As an adjective by 1750. Baby food is from 1833. Baby blues for "blue eyes" recorded by 1892 (the phrase also was used for "postpartum depression" 1950s-60s). To empty the baby out with the bath (water) is attested by 1909 (in G.B. Shaw; compare German das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten, attested from 17c.). A baby's breath was noted for sweet smell, which also was supposed to attract cats, hence baby's breath as the name of a type of flower, attested from 1897. French bébé (19c.) is said to be from English, but there were similar words in the same sense in French dialects.
It forms all or part of: advance; advantage; along; ancestor; ancient (adj.); answer; Antaeus; ante; ante-; ante meridiem; antecede; antecedent; antedate; antediluvian; ante-partum; antepenultimate; anterior; anti-; antic; anticipate; anticipation; antique; antler; avant-garde; elope; end; rampart; un- (2) prefix of reversal; until; vambrace; vamp (n.1) "upper of a shoe or boot;" vanguard.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antah "end, border, boundary;" Hittite hanti "opposite;" Greek anta, anten "opposite," anti "over against, opposite, before;" Latin ante (prep., adv.) "before (in place or time), in front of, against;" Old Lithuanian anta "on to;" Gothic anda "along;" Old English and- "against;" German ent- "along, against."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "foot."
It forms all or part of: antipodes; apodal; Arthropoda; babouche; biped; brachiopod; cap-a-pie; centipede; cephalopod; cheliped; chiropodist; expedite; expedition; foot; foosball; fetch (v.); fetter; fetlock; gastropod; hexapod; impair; impede; impediment; impeach; impeccable; isopod; millipede; octopus; Oedipus; ornithopod; pajamas; pawn (n.2) "lowly chess piece;" peccadillo; peccant; peccavi; pedal; pedestrian; pedicel; pedicle; pedicure; pedigree; pedology; pedometer; peduncle; pejoration; pejorative; peon; pessimism; petiole; pew; Piedmont; piepowder; pilot; pinniped; pioneer; platypus; podiatry; podium; polyp; pseudopod; quadruped; sesquipedalian; stapes; talipes; tetrapod; Theropoda; trapezium; trapezoid; tripod; trivet; vamp (n.1) "upper part of a shoe or boot;" velocipede.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pad-, accusative padam "foot;" Avestan pad-; Greek pos, Attic pous, genitive podos; Latin pes, genitive pedis "foot;" Lithuanian padas "sole," pėda "footstep;" Old English fot, German Fuß, Gothic fotus "foot."
spectral being in a human body who maintains semblance of life by leaving the grave at night to suck the warm blood of the living as they sleep, 1732, vampyre, from French vampire (18c.) or German Vampir (1732, like the English word first in an account of Hungarian vampires), from Hungarian vampir, from Old Church Slavonic opiri (source also of Serbian vampir, Bulgarian vapir, Ukrainian uper), said by Slavic linguist Franc Miklošič to be ultimtely from Kazan Tatar ubyr "witch," but Max Vasmer, an expert in this linguistic area, finds that phonetically doubtful.
An Eastern European creature popularized in English by late 19c. gothic novels, however there are scattered English accounts of night-walking, blood-gorged, plague-spreading undead corpses from as far back as 1196. Figurative sense of "person who preys on others" is from 1741. Applied 1774 by French biologist Buffon to a species of South American blood-sucking bat. Related: Vampiric.
MR. D'Anvers tells of a Conversation he had about a certain Prodigy, mention'd in the News Papers of March last, viz. that in the Village of Medreyga in Hungary, certain dead Bodies (call'd there Vampyres) had kill'd several Persons by sucking out all their Blood : That Arnold Paul, an Heyduke, having kill'd four Persons after he was dead, his Body was taken up 40 Days after, which bled at the Nose, Mouth and Ears : That, according to Custom, they drove a Stake thro' his Heart, at which he gave horrid Groan, and lost a great deal of Blood. And that all such as have been tormented or kill'd by Vampyres, become Vampyres when they are dead. [London Journal, May 20, 1732, quoted in Weekly Essays, May 1732]
The spread of the story about this time is perhaps traceable to a pamphlet published in 1732, the title page of which reads: Dissertationem De Hominibus Post Mortem Sanguisugis, Vulgo Sic Dictis Vampyren, Auctoritate Inclyti Philosophorum Ordinis, Publico Eruditorum Examini Die XXX. Aug. An. MDCCXXXII. Submittent M. Io. Christophorus Pohlius, Lignicens. Silesius Et Io. Gottlob Hertelius, Philos. Et Med. Stud.