ghoul·​ish | \ ˈgü-lish How to pronounce ghoulish (audio) \

Definition of ghoulish

1 : resembling, suggesting, or appropriate to a ghoul a ghoulish appearance I knew not at what moment I might plunge headlong into some terrible pit or meet with some of the ghoulish creatures that inhabit these lower worlds …— Edgar Rice Burroughs Many of their sculptures depict the ghoulish spirits … and their paternal leader, Baron Samedi, the lord of death, decay and grotesque eroticism.— Holland Cotter
2 : relating to, dealing with, or morbidly delighting in things considered shocking or gruesome ghoulish thoughts ghoulish humor … the grieving family asked for his help in a rather ghoulish affair.— Behn Cervantes … his photographs present the aftermath of battles somewhat in the manner of ghoulish still lifes …— Naomi Rosenblum Annie was a fine, strapping girl, and was evidently labouring under intense excitement, mingled with a certain ghoulish enjoyment of the tragedy.— Agatha Christie … he offers the reader a deliciously ghoulish potted history of absurd burial techniques.— Lawrence Osborne

Other Words from ghoulish

ghoulishly adverb
laughing ghoulishly Lurid, violent, … morbidly sentimental and ghoulishly capricious, this is the kind of painting which grabs the modern imagination for the most dubious of reasons. — Jonathan Keates
ghoulishness noun
… a zany cross between wild farce and macabre ghoulishness — John Percival

First Known Use of ghoulish

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of ghoulish was in 1835

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Cite this Entry

“Ghoulish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of ghoulish for Spanish Speakers


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