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

Examples of ghoulish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another patron was Pennsylvania oddity collector Joshua Taylor, who runs a ghoulish Instagram account called Angry Beard Antiques, featuring photos of skulls, bones, and postmortem daguerreotypes of dead children. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 4 Dec. 2023 David Cameron—former British prime minister and ghoulish specter of Brexit past—is back. Raven Smith, Vogue, 15 Nov. 2023 Perhaps the most ghoulish basement was in a police station in Kherson City. James Verini Paolo Pellegrin, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2023 And the Halloween-eve hair-raiser adds a cackling skeleton to a horror arcade of ghoulish news for EVs. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 30 Oct. 2023 But Freddy’s is invested in making people, not its ghoulish machines, the stars of the show, and suffers for it. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 28 Oct. 2023 Pumpkins are known for a ghoulish grin and delicious taste. Chelsea Hylton, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2023 The pre-Halloween report indeed uncorked one of the year’s most ghoulish surprises, given that few enterprises in the annals of financial markets have inspired the kind of unbridled optimism with which Wall Street has showered the EV giant. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2023 From ice cream floats inspired by Harry Potter to spiderweb brownies, these recipes are simple enough to be made by kids and adults alike — and delicious enough to satisfy the most ghoulish of cravings. People Staff, Peoplemag, 17 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghoulish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ghoulish was in 1835

Dictionary Entries Near ghoulish

Cite this Entry

“Ghoulish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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