zom·​bie | \ˈzäm-bē \
variants: or less commonly zombi

Definition of zombie 

1a : 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

2a : 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

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Other Words from zombie

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

If I don't go to bed early I'll be a zombie tomorrow. His students usually sat there in the classroom like zombies.

Recent Examples on the Web

After showing off outfits that included a zombie, a miniature Catwoman, and a pair of Kiernan twins that took inspiration straight from The Shining, the actor revealed her 2005 debut as a witch. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kiernan Shipka Shared Photographs of Her Childhood Halloween Costumes on Instagram," 1 Nov. 2018 Even after their mid-2000s heyday, zombie movies just kept respawning well into the 2010s. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Ghosts, witches, zombies: which supernatural creature makes the most money at the box office?," 31 Oct. 2018 Where Shaun of the Dead was more of a straight parody of the hammer horror zombie movies of lore, Hot Fuzz doesn't tie itself so inextricably to any one source. Tom Philip, GQ, "Hot Fuzz Is One of the Best Action Movies Ever, and It's on Netflix," 30 Apr. 2018 Bar staff are passionate tiki aficionados that are diehards for the genre, so brace yourself for boozy zombies, mai tais, grogs, and daiquiris—the gang's all here. Krista Simmons, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Los Angeles," 28 Feb. 2018 Connie is deaf, which definitely adds a new wrinkle to dealing with the zombie apocalypse, but other than that, everything about the group feels familiar. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead’s fresh start looks like a big step back," 12 Nov. 2018 King thanked a slew of people for helping her while she was injured and for the new 8-episode series on Netflix, based on a mother looking for her daughter during a zombie apocalypse. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Jaime King hospitalized after suffering injury on set of new TV show," 28 Sep. 2018 When Anna wakes up the next morning, the zombie apocalypse is in full force, and senior year becomes one long, bloody battle for survival. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New trailer for Anna and the Apocalypse promises undead slaying for holidays," 5 Sep. 2018 For now, such an outcome would be as miraculous as finding a SWAT vehicle filled with Cup O' Noodles in the midst of a zombie apocalypse; not impossible, but certainly improbable. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fear the Walking Dead' Finally Answers Kim Dickens' Fate," 10 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of zombie

circa 1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for zombie

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

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Dictionary Entries near zombie





zombie bank



Statistics for zombie

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zombie

The first known use of zombie was circa 1871

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More Definitions for zombie



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.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of zombie

: 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.


variants: also zombi \ˈzäm-​bē \

Kids Definition of zombie

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on zombie

Spanish Central: Translation of zombie

Nglish: Translation of zombie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zombie for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zombie

Comments on zombie

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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