Har"py (?), n.; pl. Harpies (#). [F. harpie, L. harpyia, Gr. , from the root of to snatch, to seize. Gf. 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 guite. With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard. Milton.


One who is rapacious or ravenous; an extortioner.

The harpies about all pocket the pool. Goldsmith.

3. Zool. (a)

The European moor buzzard or marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus).


A large and powerful, double-crested, short-winged American eagle (Thrasaetus harpyia). It ranges from Texas to Brazil.

Harpy bat Zool. (a) An East Indian fruit bat of the genus Harpyia (esp. H. cerphalotes), having prominent, tubular nostrils. (b) A small, insectivorous Indian bat (Harpiocephalus harpia).

Harpy fly Zool., the house fly.


© Webster 1913.