Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who delights in the revolting, morbid, or loathsome.
  • n. A grave robber.
  • n. An evil spirit or demon in Muslim folklore believed to plunder graves and feed on corpses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spirit said to feed on corpses.
  • n. A graverobber; a person with an undue interest in death and corpses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An imaginary evil being among Eastern nations, which was supposed to feed upon human bodies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An imaginary evil being supposed among Eastern nations to prey upon human bodies; an ogre.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an evil spirit or ghost
  • n. someone who takes bodies from graves and sells them for anatomical dissection

Etymologies

Arabic ġūl, from ġāla, to seize, snatch; see ġwl in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Persian غول (ğul) — an imaginary sylvan demon, supposed to devour men and animals. Cognate to Arabic غول and French goule, and to English alcohol. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In Somalia and Afghanistan clerics matter-of-factly described to your correspondent the range of jinn they had encountered, from the saintly to the demonic; those that can fly, those that crawl, plodding jinn, invisible jinn, gul with vampiric tendencies (from which the English word ghoul is taken), and shape-shifters recognisable in human form because their feet are turned backwards.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • She is also the oldest living ghoul from the 1968 horror classic "Night of the Living Dead."

    Elderly Zombies Win the Undying Loyalty of Their Fans

  • Your lives are boring and the fact that you are posting on this site about a Rupert Everett Wanabee ghoul is proof thereof.

    Are Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart Having It Off Or What?

  • No doubt these miserable villagers, with lives barely worth the few boney fish they hauled daily, were superstitious on top of their misery, thinking the wearied traveler a reaper out for their souls, or a ghoul from the deeps hungry for their flesh.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • “Not much of a ghoul, is she?” the Wendigo asked the mare.

    GHOULS • by Megan Arkenberg

  • For example, the star Algol, which is located in Taurus, is given in many dictionaries as descending from al-ghāla, ` the destroyer, 'but its more likely origin is the more familiar form from the same root: ghul ` a woodland demon' from which we got our word ghoul, ` a defiler of graves. '

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol V No 3

  • Combining a slow motor, a simple system of pulleys, and a deathly amount of fun (and almost as much electricity), this ghoul will be the “life” of your Halloween party.

    Boing Boing

  • The worst of it is that such a compilation brings a man money, because there are always plenty of people who like to dabble in mud; and a ghoul is the most impervious of beings, probably because a ghoul of this species regards himself merely as an unprejudiced seeker after truth, and claims to be what he would call a realist.

    The Silent Isle

  • I've structured the campaign such that the opponents become increasingly more powerful; a ghoul is a much more appropriate threat to a Gritty or Procedural level game, while Chthonians are great Pulp or Superhero-level villains.

    RPGnet

  • The ghoul is a product called Zombie of Montclaire Moors, an $89.95 sculpture made of "designer resin" that gives the impression a zombie is clawing his way out of your yard.

    chicagotribune.com -

Comments

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  • This word sounds so appropriate. Can you imagine Ed Gein described as anything other than a ghoul?

    September 24, 2008