Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!


[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.
1780-90; < Arabic ghūl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for ghouls
  • The faces near me were those of ghouls worn out in some unholy midnight revel.
  • The humans of this world have always relied on their faith to shield them from vampires and werewolves, spirits, and ghouls.
  • Visitors can explore a blocked-off, half-mile section of the cave that's packed with scary ghouls and demons.
  • Before dining, families can explore the various floors of the restaurant that house animatronic ghost and ghouls.
  • As visitors walk from one scene to the next, they encounter ghouls, ghosts and other scary beings.
  • Open this guide and you'll find their ideas and lots of other goodies sure to thrill both big ghouls and little goblins.
  • The ghouls are there, gory and gruesome, but they are costume ghouls.
  • The movie fastens on two self-proclaimed ghouls who solicit, collect and market artworks by serial killers.
  • In many old legends, a church is a perfect refuge from goblins and ghouls.
  • Theater ghouls who thrive on watching big stars from another medium stumble onstage have nothing to dine out on here.
British Dictionary definitions for ghouls


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ghouls



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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for ghouls


in popular legend, demonic being believed to inhabit burial grounds and other deserted places. In ancient Arabic folklore, ghuls belonged to a diabolic class of jinn (spirits) and were said to be the offspring of Iblis, the Muslim prince of darkness. They were capable of constantly changing form, but their presence was always recognizable by their unalterable sign: ass's hooves.

Learn more about ghoul with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ghoul

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ghouls

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ghouls