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[gool] /gul/
an evil demon, originally of Oriental legend, supposed to feed on human beings, and especially to rob graves, prey on corpses, etc.
a grave robber.
a person who revels in what is revolting.
Origin of ghoul
1780-90; < Arabic ghūl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ghoul
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But then he was such a worthless vagabond, a ghoul who had robbed a dead body.

    Five Tales John Galsworthy
  • He was a sottish-looking fellow, and there was something of the glare of a ghoul in his eyes.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • You, viper, ghoul that you are, have turned my very nature into that of a fiend.

    Sharing Her Crime May Agnes Fleming
  • It is a ghoul, it haunts his dreams, this image, with its hateful conclusions.

  • Directly, a small window at one side of the gate was opened, and a ghoul put his head out.

    Ting-a-ling Frank Richard Stockton
  • We go to ashes at once, and leave no corpse for a ghoul to inhabit and make a vampire of.

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
  • Our fears were mere churchyard superstitions, which we have caught from that ghoul of a Molimo.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • He had no way of knowing in which direction the ghoul had dragged him.

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
British Dictionary definitions for ghoul


a malevolent spirit or ghost
a person interested in morbid or disgusting things
a person who robs graves
(in Muslim legend) an evil demon thought to eat human bodies, either stolen corpses or children
Word Origin
C18: from Arabic ghūl, from ghāla he seized
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ghoul

1786, in the English translation of Beckford's "Vathek," from Arabic ghul, an evil spirit that robs graves and feeds on corpses, from ghala "he seized."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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