noun zom·bie \ ˈzäm-bē \
variants: or less commonly zombi
|Updated on: 21 Aug 2018

Definition of zombie

1 a : a will-less and speechless human (as in voodoo belief and in fictional stories) held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated
b : the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body
2 a : a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead; especially : automaton
b : a person markedly strange in appearance or behavior
3 : a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice


or zombie-like play \ˈzäm-bē-ˌlīk\ adjective
    • … a morning rush of zombielike office workers, all starved for caffeine and clamoring for cappuccino.
    • —Bob Filipczak


play \ˈzäm-ˌbȯid\ adjective
    • This is a poetry eerily populated with ghosts and mummies and zomboid creatures who go on living though dead from love.
    • —Patrick McGarth

Examples of zombie in a Sentence

  1. If I don't go to bed early I'll be a zombie tomorrow.

  2. His students usually sat there in the classroom like zombies.

Recent Examples of zombie from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of zombie

Louisiana Creole or Haitian Creole zonbi, of Bantu origin; akin to Kimbundu nzúmbe ghost

Financial Definition of ZOMBIE


What It Is

A zombie is a company that continues to operate even though its liabilities exceed its assets (in other words, it has a net worth of zero).

How It Works

Let's say Bank XYZ has $1 billion in assets (loans it has made to customers) and $2 billion in liabilities (delinquent loans, interest payments due to customers, debt it may have borrowed, etc.). Bank XYZ could declare bankruptcy and default on its obligations at any time, but for now it is still alive.

Why It Matters

Zombies are very risky investments because they could die at any time. However, some zombies might receive sudden financing, such as government bailouts or other money, which could prompt a turnaround that might make shareholders suddenly wealthy.

ZOMBIE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of zombie for English Language Learners

  • : a person who moves very slowly and is not aware of what is happening especially because of being very tired

  • : a dead person who is able to move because of magic according to some religions and in stories, movies, etc.

ZOMBIE Defined for Kids


noun zom·bie
variants: also zombi \ˈzäm-bē\

Definition of zombie for Students

: a person who is believed to have died and been brought back to life without speech or free will

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