\ˈgül \

Definition of ghoul 

1 : a legendary evil being that robs graves and feeds on corpses

2 : one suggestive of a ghoul especially : one who shows morbid interest in things considered shocking or repulsive

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Other Words from ghoul

ghoulish \ˈgü-​lish \ adjective
ghoulishly adverb
ghoulishness noun

Examples of ghoul in a Sentence

in Arabic folklore, ghouls could change their shapes but had one unchanging feature: donkey's hooves for feet

Recent Examples on the Web

The West Virginian wasteland is full of familiar creatures like deathclaws, feral ghouls, and other mutated monstrosities. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, "Two weeks in, Fallout 76 is a lonely, glitchy, flawed mess," 28 Nov. 2018 Use this caption: Déjà BOO Group Halloween costume captions: My definition of #squadghouls Oh, ghouls just wanna have fun! Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "40 Funny and Spooky Halloween Instagram Captions That Will Have Everyone Double Tapping," 30 Oct. 2018 Halloween might be tomorrow night, but stylish ghouls and goblins got a leg up on the festivities over the weekend at the raging Halloween bash hosted by Allison Sarofim. Vogue, "Allison Sarofim Hosts Her Annual Epic Halloween Bash," 30 Oct. 2018 Yes, gals and ghouls: Satan is a central figure in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Is Dark and Scary, But Not in the Way You Think," 26 Oct. 2018 Indeed the word zombie, which previously carried Caribbean connotations, is never even spoken by Romero’s characters; the creatures are referred to as flesh-eating ghouls instead. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "A Zombie Classic Gets a New Life," 23 Oct. 2018 Kylie went all out for the design, featuring ghosts, ghouls, and everything in between ready to scare anyone who dares borrow your makeup without asking. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kylie Cosmetics Is Launching a Spooky Halloween Makeup Collection," 4 Oct. 2018 Some people say sleep paralysis is all about demons and ghouls and paranormal activity. Emma Goddard, Good Housekeeping, "What It's Really Like to Suffer From Sleep Paralysis," 21 Feb. 2016 The backlash was prompt, because while Trump may be running the White House, there's still apparently an expectation that the people working for him not act like full-on ghouls. Luke Darby, GQ, "Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is Furious the White House's Inside Joke About John McCain Dying Was Leaked," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ghoul.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ghoul

1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ghoul

Arabic ghūl

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Dictionary Entries near ghoul

ghost town

ghost word






Statistics for ghoul

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ghoul

The first known use of ghoul was in 1786

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More Definitions for ghoul



English Language Learners Definition of ghoul

: an evil creature in frightening stories that robs graves and eats dead bodies


\ˈgül \

Kids Definition of ghoul

1 : an evil being of legend that robs graves and feeds on dead bodies

2 : someone whose activities suggest those of a ghoul : an evil or frightening person

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More from Merriam-Webster on ghoul

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ghoul

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ghoul

Spanish Central: Translation of ghoul

Nglish: Translation of ghoul for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ghoul for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ghoul

Comments on ghoul

What made you want to look up ghoul? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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