Definition of ghoul in US English:



  • 1An evil spirit or phantom, especially one supposed to rob graves and feed on dead bodies.

    • ‘He was the type to believe in ghouls and monsters, and sneezing bushes were definitely not something he encountered often.’
    • ‘Witches, goblins, ghosts, ghouls and some gothic mums and dads were among an estimated 9,000 crowd that turned out for what is believed to be the country's largest Halloween party.’
    • ‘If they insist on dressing up as goblins and ghouls to visit friends and neighbours, they should do so next Saturday - a day early.’
    • ‘Add to that all the hallowe'en tales of ghouls & goblins and the bangs of fireworks and it's hardly surprising that some people don't like this time of year at all.’
    • ‘The rain had kept many away, but the skeletons, goblins and ghouls considered it a minor obstacle.’
    • ‘All the while he uses his sword to clear his path of ghouls, skeletons and all sorts of unyielding dead things.’
    • ‘There are ghouls and goblins everywhere and the toilet seat is a demon.’
    • ‘Staff at a number of bars and hotels dressed for the occasion and ghosts, ghouls and goblins traipsed through the streets and shadows.’
    • ‘The undead come in all shapes and sizes, from regular old ghouls to nasty crimson zombies that brandish razor-sharp claws and run faster than the characters.’
    • ‘The ghoul's upper body split into two pieces with a cracking and splintering of bone.’
    • ‘All Hallows Eve is just around the corner, where ghouls, goblins, witches and vampires are ready to come out.’
    • ‘Simon, who will be dressed in authentic Victorian costume, will talk about heroes and villains, hauntings and murders, and phantoms and ghouls.’
    • ‘During the commercial, they showed ghosts and ghouls jump out of cornfields and scare the children that are being pulled around the haunted site by a tractor.’
    • ‘Ghosts, ghouls, and spirits floated about and chatted with old friends, vampires lurked frighteningly close, and werewolves paced from along the walls.’
    • ‘For you might find things that can get more dangerous than ghouls or spirits - humans with not so good intentions.’
    • ‘The people dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies and skeletons.’
    • ‘A slight shudder slid over him, footsteps on his grave, a shadowy ghoul with its gargoyle grin threatening to exhume long-buried corpses.’
    • ‘Hallowe'en traditionally serves up a tasty portion of cinematic ghouls and goblins, and this year is no different.’
    • ‘A host of witches, goblins, ghouls and monsters descended on Carlow town centre last week as the central library held its children's Halloween fancy dress show.’
    • ‘There must be strange entities materializing from the ether, ghouls, ghosts, or spirits hanging out in the material world to warn or haunt us.’
    meddler, interferer, mischief-maker, troublemaker, gossip, scandalmonger, muckraker, eavesdropper, intruder, gawker
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person morbidly interested in death or disaster.
      • ‘I see them as ghouls preying on the death and misery of other people to earn money and fame or convert others to their silly superstitions.’


Late 18th century: from Arabic ġūl, a desert demon believed to rob graves and devour corpses.