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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Harpy \Har"py\ (h[aum]r"p[y^]), n.; pl. Harpies (-p[i^]z). [F. harpie, L. harpyia, Gr. "a`rpyia, from the root of "arpa`zein to snatch, to seize. Cf. Rapacious.]

  1. (Gr. Myth.) A fabulous winged monster, ravenous and filthy, having the face of a woman and the body of a vulture, with long claws, and the face pale with hunger. Some writers mention two, others three.

    Both table and provisions vanished quite. With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard.

  2. One who is rapacious or ravenous; an extortioner.

    The harpies about all pocket the pool.

  3. (Zo["o]l.)

    1. The European moor buzzard or marsh harrier ( Circus [ae]ruginosus).

    2. A large and powerful, double-crested, short-winged American eagle ( Thrasa["e]tus harpyia). It ranges from Texas to Brazil. Harpy bat (Zo["o]l.)

      1. An East Indian fruit bat of the genus Harpyia (esp. Harpyia cephalotes), having prominent, tubular nostrils.

      2. A small, insectivorous Indian bat ( Harpiocephalus harpia).

        Harpy fly (Zo["o]l.), the house fly.


n. (harpy English)

Usage examples of "harpies".

Sven told me that your mother sacrificed a bullock to the Harpies on the eve of our formal agreement, and a yearling each time I gave birth.

If I had seen only what the Harpies do and not been educated about their customs, I would believe it also.

She had birthed every race: Human, Harpies, Dene, Tcheria, Alouea, Windsingers, Calouin, and all the others.

She must not let them see the Harpies, see how they circled above her, screaming with laughter as she howled.

He never once made tribute to the Harpies, not even after our father died.

People wishing to cross the river undisturbed would leave offerings of dead beasts there, to buy the Harpies off their children.

I say you cut us off from the Harpies, I mean that we now must face a period of loneliness.

But until I can be sure I have cleansed my mind of your feelings I may not go to the Harpies to seek my father or my grandparents.

The emotions you have placed in us for Harpies have cut us off from this magic.

And I take too much from the flocks and herds, so that I may visit the Harpies and pretend that I am not a sagging old woman.

She let it flood her mind with the more personal affront she felt, letting it wash her thoughts away from circling Harpies and sharp talons.

Now must she fear that the man stretched beside her was a servant of the Harpies, an instrument of their revenge?

I will not consort with Harpies, asking them to show me the faces of the ones they snatched bloodily away from me.

You did not go to the Harpies and defile their gifts to you by exposing them to these unfitting sentiments pressed upon your unwilling minds.

You will return to the Harpies as unsoiled as when, in childhood, you made your first encounters.