Definition of zombie in English:



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

    • ‘In folklore, zombies are portrayed as innocent victims who are raised in a comatose trance from their graves by malevolent sorcerers.’
    • ‘The voodoo zombie is not a dead person, but a living person who has been brain damaged.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Portrayals in modern books, films, games, and haunted attractions, are quite different from both voodoo zombies and those of folklore.’
    • ‘The living dead in pop culture are no doubt inspired by the great voodoo zombie legend of Haiti in the heart of the Caribbean.’
    • ‘And in Haiti she found eight ‘authentic cases’ of zombies, one of whom she photographed in a hospital.’
    • ‘He cleared his throat and began to read, "A zombie is an undead person in the tradition of voodoo."’
    • ‘Basically, it's all about consciousness, and in the voodoo religions, zombies are bodies without soul.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The zombies are, of course, the ultimate consumers.’
      • ‘His life came to an end when, after taking a bullet, he was torn apart by a horde of hungry zombies.’
      • ‘Day of the Dead (1985) shows the beginnings of a new world, where survivors learn to domesticate the zombies.’
      • ‘Just hope you're better served than Christopher when your neighbors turn into brain-eating zombies.’
      • ‘They seek refuge from an army of flesh-eating zombies by hiding in a shopping mall.’
      • ‘There are no vampires, werewolves, zombies, or outer space creatures.’
      • ‘The cops fled the scene, but not before one was bitten by the zombie.’
      • ‘One can become inflicted with this malady by being bitten by zombie.’
      • ‘Anyone bitten by a zombie dies and is reanimated as one of them.’
      • ‘Disturbing, highly intelligent, referential to a legion of horror movies, the film is a horrifyingly bleak portrait of a Britain overrun by rabid zombies.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2informal A person who is or appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I stopped… progressing for a while, a sort of zombie of my former self.’
      • ‘This is not to say that they are leading meaningful lives, but they are not necessarily lunatics, morons, or zombies.’
      • ‘This argument assumes, of course, that everyone who smokes marijuana will become some sort of zombie, and as such is a worst-case scenario.’
      • ‘And before any brainwashed zombie starts screaming that I am trivialising rape, it is this very situation which is doing so.’
      • ‘Either that or I have to start drinking more and get used to feeling like a damn zombie the next day.’
      • ‘As D-Day approached I became a zombie, all distant stares and unresponsive grunts.’
      • ‘That junk food-munching young zombie who is watching a burping contest on AXN, is pure gold for the advertiser.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One woman described herself as a ‘walking zombie for a week and a half’ as she waited for her biopsy results.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘What we are supposing to be absent in the zombie's mind is just phenomenal consciousness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The existence of zombies would be a clear counter-example to this metaphysical determination.’
      • ‘So if the zombie hypothesis is correct, physicalism is false.’
      • ‘The zombie intuitions on which such arguments rely are controversial and their soundness remains in dispute.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4A 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.’
      • ‘Zombies can be used by criminal hackers to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks, spread spam messages or to steal confidential information.’
      • ‘Malicious programs capable of turning home PCs into zombies controlled by hackers are growing at between 150 to 200 per week.’
      • ‘The zombies mount attacks by flooding servers with traffic til they can't cope.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Around one in three of the zombies linked to phishing by CipherTrust are based in the US.’
      • ‘Hackers create zombies by scanning for exposed systems that they can manipulate remotely.’
      • ‘Spam zombies are part of a new generation of Internet-borne threats.’
  • 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.