Definition of zombie in English:



  • 1A corpse said to be revived by witchcraft, especially in certain African and Caribbean religions.

    • ‘Basically, it's all about consciousness, and in the voodoo religions, zombies are bodies without soul.’
    • ‘The living dead in pop culture are no doubt inspired by the great voodoo zombie legend of Haiti in the heart of the Caribbean.’
    • ‘Portrayals in modern books, films, games, and haunted attractions, are quite different from both voodoo zombies and those of folklore.’
    • ‘The voodoo zombie is not a dead person, but a living person who has been brain damaged.’
    • ‘In folklore, zombies are portrayed as innocent victims who are raised in a comatose trance from their graves by malevolent sorcerers.’
    • ‘He cleared his throat and began to read, "A zombie is an undead person in the tradition of voodoo."’
    • ‘Some scientists claim that voodoo zombies are created with this toxin.’
    • ‘Of course, the people of Haiti claim that they see zombies very often, but no one has been able to prove it.’
    • ‘And in Haiti she found eight ‘authentic cases’ of zombies, one of whom she photographed in a hospital.’
    • ‘In 1982, an ethnobotanist and independent scholar announced that the chemical is a major component of the voodoo elixir that turns people into zombies.’
    1. 1.1 (in popular fiction) a person or reanimated corpse that has been turned into a creature capable of movement but not of rational thought, which feeds on human flesh.
      ‘a world overrun by zombies’
      ‘a horde of mindless zombies craving brains’
      • ‘There are no vampires, werewolves, zombies, or outer space creatures.’
      • ‘Disturbing, highly intelligent, referential to a legion of horror movies, the film is a horrifyingly bleak portrait of a Britain overrun by rabid zombies.’
      • ‘Anyone bitten by a zombie dies and is reanimated as one of them.’
      • ‘The Earth is overrun by flesh-eating zombies, and the bunker is used for both shelter and experimentation.’
      • ‘A group of strangers barricade themselves into a house in order to escape from a horde of flesh-eating zombies.’
      • ‘One can become inflicted with this malady by being bitten by zombie.’
      • ‘They seek refuge from an army of flesh-eating zombies by hiding in a shopping mall.’
      • ‘Just hope you're better served than Christopher when your neighbors turn into brain-eating zombies.’
      • ‘The cops fled the scene, but not before one was bitten by the zombie.’
      • ‘The zombies are, of course, the ultimate consumers.’
      • ‘Day of the Dead (1985) shows the beginnings of a new world, where survivors learn to domesticate the zombies.’
      • ‘Have the common courtesy to tell your fellow survivors that you've been bitten by a zombie and will probably try to eat them within the hour instead of just shrugging and hoping the problem goes away by itself.’
      • ‘His life came to an end when, after taking a bullet, he was torn apart by a horde of hungry zombies.’
    2. 1.2informal A person who is or appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.
      • ‘As D-Day approached I became a zombie, all distant stares and unresponsive grunts.’
      • ‘And before any brainwashed zombie starts screaming that I am trivialising rape, it is this very situation which is doing so.’
      • ‘This argument assumes, of course, that everyone who smokes marijuana will become some sort of zombie, and as such is a worst-case scenario.’
      • ‘Now I face a mystery tour on a ropey coach: I'm going to be a zombie all day, and in grave danger of slumping into my gravy over lunch.’
      • ‘This is not to say that they are leading meaningful lives, but they are not necessarily lunatics, morons, or zombies.’
      • ‘Not many like to go there, because it can be an unnerving experience, the officials more often than not appearing like zombies who cannot even hear applicants.’
      • ‘Either that or I have to start drinking more and get used to feeling like a damn zombie the next day.’
      • ‘One woman described herself as a ‘walking zombie for a week and a half’ as she waited for her biopsy results.’
      • ‘I stopped… progressing for a while, a sort of zombie of my former self.’
      • ‘That junk food-munching young zombie who is watching a burping contest on AXN, is pure gold for the advertiser.’
      • ‘It needs to be said at this point that I am NOT inferring that all people in these countries are poor, ignorant zombies.’
    3. 1.3Philosophy A hypothetical being that responds to stimulus as a person would but that does not experience consciousness.
      • ‘This is a being that would be hugely different behaviorally from a normal human being, an unmotivated, listless vegetable, while a philosopher's zombie, by definition, is as lively and (apparently) motivated as anybody could be.’
      • ‘While the zombie argument raises a problem for physicalism's metaphysical claims about the relations between mind and body, the explanatory gap argument raises a problem for physicalism's understanding of consciousness.’
      • ‘Among the metaphysical arguments that have been given in support of such claims are those that appeal to intuitions about the conceivability and logical possibility of zombies.’
      • ‘When one imagines the zombie, one cannot be imagining something for which it only seems like it lacks the feeling of pain (say), but really it is in pain: for anything which is really in pain can never seem to lack the feeling of pain!’
      • ‘Nothing in the zombie theory explains why they act the way they do, unless we hypothesize the existence of unseen causes, demonic puppet masters, or the like.’
      • ‘That's the sort of idea of the philosopher's zombie, there could be two Sues and one would be conscious and the other wouldn't.’
      • ‘The existence of zombies would be a clear counter-example to this metaphysical determination.’
      • ‘The zombie intuitions on which such arguments rely are controversial and their soundness remains in dispute.’
      • ‘So if the zombie hypothesis is correct, physicalism is false.’
      • ‘What we are supposing to be absent in the zombie's mind is just phenomenal consciousness.’
    4. 1.4 A computer controlled by another person without the owner's knowledge and used for sending spam or other illegal or illicit activities.
      • ‘Malware authors are creating 150 zombies a week.’
      • ‘The zombies mount attacks by flooding servers with traffic til they can't cope.’
      • ‘Spam zombies are part of a new generation of Internet-borne threats.’
      • ‘Around one in three of the zombies linked to phishing by CipherTrust are based in the US.’
      • ‘Malicious programs capable of turning home PCs into zombies controlled by hackers are growing at between 150 to 200 per week.’
      • ‘Zombies can be used by criminal hackers to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks, spread spam messages or to steal confidential information.’
      • ‘Hackers create zombies by scanning for exposed systems that they can manipulate remotely.’
      • ‘A British teenager has been convicted for distributing the Randex computer worm, designed to turn innocent infected computers into compromised "zombies" under the control of remote hackers.’
      • ‘It identifies machines that could be zombies by inspecting thousands of messages.’
      • ‘Previously it was fairly trivial to locate a zombie running on an infected Windows machine, by just tracing the source IP back.’
  • 2A cocktail consisting of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice.

    • ‘Try drinking the Zombie, but don't have too many.’


Early 19th century: of West African origin; compare with Kikongo zumbi ‘fetish’.