Definition of ghoulish in US English:



  • 1Resembling or characteristic of a ghoul.

    ‘a ghoulish mask’
    • ‘Telephone users in the city these days have been treated to a sound resembling a ghoulish wail.’
    • ‘Hobbes and Darien confront a ghoulish hit man who blinds any witnesses to the killings.’
    • ‘These emerge from the grass looking like some ghoulish knuckle.’
    • ‘As an example, a counselor painted with makeup to appear ghoulish - perhaps as part of Carnival - may no longer be entirely appropriate.’
    • ‘Ghoulish creatures climbed over each other behind the knight.’
    • ‘Willem Dafoe exudes creepy coolness as Max Schreck, the ghoulish actor whose vampiric tendencies may just be the real deal.’
    • ‘Up to now they have scraped a living by producing ghoulish dolls.’
    • ‘Some demonstrators wore ghoulish masks as they stuck a green banner to a police barricade at the farm's entrance.’
    • ‘Usually, the Salem native is called upon to make people look good, not ghoulish.’
    • ‘His early tempera-and-ink paintings depicting ghoulish figures firmly situate him in the postwar European figurative art scene.’
    • ‘The show was based on the work of Charles Addams, whose cartoon creations about this ghoulish family appeared regularly in the New Yorker.’
    • ‘There are even some scary werewolves and other ghoulish creatures to battle.’
    • ‘Sure, the red monk is an appropriately ghoulish fiend; but this is really more of a quirky detective story than a horror film.’
    • ‘They don't even bother with a scary laugh or ghoulish shriek.’
    • ‘You wonder if they just thought a particularly large group of rather ghoulish tourists had turned up.’
    • ‘The shocks were accompanied by a ghoulish rumbling noise that was terrifying to those who heard it.’
    • ‘Also in the store was Cher, who purchased some devilish goods including containers of face paint to create a garish, ghoulish glow.’
    • ‘Many couples that park their cars near the graveyard to make out find themselves at the mercy of these ghoulish ghosts.’
    • ‘Other effects excel, such as the ghoulish twins and their transporter beam shenanigans.’
    • ‘They make the film interesting and do their best to be horrified gristle for the ghoulish girl out to exact revenge on them.’
    macabre, grisly, gruesome, grotesque, ghastly, morbid
    unhealthy, perverted, death-obsessed, morbid, black
    View synonyms
  • 2Morbidly interested in death or disaster.

    ‘she told the story with ghoulish relish’
    • ‘The interest in death which had always permeated his work now re-emerged, transformed from the ghoulish into the pensive.’
    • ‘It keeps the ghoulish gore while adding hilarious physical comedy and some classic one liners.’
    • ‘The plundering of body parts of radiation victims reached ghoulish proportions.’
    • ‘Holidays don't come much more ghoulish than this.’
    • ‘Whether you are tramping through muddy forests, mysterious tunnels or misty waters, the locations drip with ghoulish detail.’
    • ‘This ghoulish history is irrelevant to Harley riders - their aim is to be photographed by the huge sign at company HQ.’
    • ‘For the past hour, he had been picking up the dead, and the ghoulish task had the effect of a nightmare.’
    • ‘The story of what happens next has been told innumerable times, to the point of having become a ghoulish soap opera.’
    • ‘In a ghoulish gallery, Bart hosts three bloodcurdling tales of Halloween horror.’
    • ‘Within hours of the disaster, a number of ghoulish items began appearing on eBay.’
    • ‘This is a ghoulish exploitation of a great tragedy.’
    • ‘Her gossamer spirit clings to the gales, another ghoulish mist chilling the Chinese countryside.’
    • ‘Lights, staging, and the variety of ghoulish gadgetry are all as I remember, and in some cases technology has improved on them.’
    • ‘The man they made this ghoulish request to is a key figure in the Limerick underworld.’
    • ‘Even the publicity for the exhibition plays up a ghoulish fascination with medieval atrocities.’
    • ‘Chimneys dot the landscape like diseased tree-trunks supporting ghoulish branches of black smoke.’
    • ‘I comment with amusement on the slightly ghoulish relish with which he is approaching the experiment.’
    • ‘The most ghoulish mass murderer in history has been in a coma for ten years.’
    • ‘There is a ghoulish legend attached to the house.’
    • ‘Aiello says the ghoulish graveyard thefts would have been unthinkable in an earlier age.’