- any of several large, primarily carrion-eating Old World birds of prey of the family Accipitridae, often having a naked head and less powerful feet than those of the related hawks and eagles.
- any of several superficially similar New World birds of the family Cathartidae, as the turkey vulture.
- a person or thing that preys, especially greedily or unscrupulously: That vulture would sell out his best friend.
- any of various very large diurnal birds of prey of the genera Neophron, Gyps, Gypaetus, etc, of Africa, Asia, and warm parts of Europe, typically having broad wings and soaring flight and feeding on carrion: family Accipitridae (hawks)See also griffon 1 (def. 2), lammergeier
- any similar bird of the family Cathartidae of North, Central, and South AmericaSee also condor, turkey buzzard
- a person or thing that preys greedily and ruthlessly on others, esp the helpless
late 14c., from Anglo-French vultur, Old French voultour, from Latin vultur, earlier voltur, perhaps related to vellere “to pluck, to tear.” Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s.