A DEMON who feeds on the flesh of human beings, especially travelers, children, or corpses stolen out of graves. Ghoulish entities are universal. They are prominent in Arabic lore; the name is from the Arabic terms ghul (masculine) and ghula (feminine), which mean “demon.” There are several types of ghouls in Arabic lore; the most feared is a female type that has the ability to appear as a normal, flesh-and-blood woman. Such a creature marries an unsuspecting man, who becomes her prey.
   Ghouls are nocturnal creatures who inhabit graveyards, ruins, and other lonely places. Sometimes they are described as dead humans who sleep for long periods in secret graves, then awake, rise, and feast on both the living and the dead. Ghouls also personify the unknown terrors held by the desert and may be compared to the LAMIAE and LILITH night terror and childbirth demons.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ghoul — ghoul; ghoul·ish; ar·ghoul; ghoul·ish·ly; ghoul·ish·ness; …   English syllables

  • Ghoul — (g[=oo]l), n. [Per. gh[=o]l an imaginary sylvan demon, supposed to devour men and animals: cf. Ar. gh[=u]l, F. goule.] An imaginary evil being among Eastern nations, which was supposed to feed upon human bodies. [Written also {ghole} .] Moore.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ghoul — n. m. (Maghreb) Monstre anthropophage dans la mythologie arabe; ogre …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ghoul — [gu:l] n [Date: 1700 1800; : Arabic; Origin: ghul, from ghala to seize ] 1.) an evil spirit in stories that takes bodies from ↑graves (=place in the ground where dead people are buried) and eats them 2.) someone who gets pleasure from unpleasant… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ghoul — [ gul ] noun count 1. ) an imaginary creature that eats dead people 2. ) someone who is interested in or enjoys unpleasant situations involving death or injury …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ghoul — 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • ghoul — meaning (1) ‘an evil spirit’ and (2) ‘a person morbidly interested in death’, is pronounced gool …   Modern English usage

  • ghoul — [n] evil demon bogeyman, devil, evil spirit, fiend, grave robber, monster; concepts 370,412 …   New thesaurus

  • ghoul — ► NOUN 1) an evil spirit or phantom, especially one supposed to rob graves and feed on dead bodies. 2) a person morbidly interested in death or disaster. DERIVATIVES ghoulish adjective ghoulishly adverb ghoulishness noun. ORIGIN Arabic, denoting… …   English terms dictionary

  • ghoul — [go͞ol] n. [Ar ghūl, demon of the desert < ghāla, to seize] 1. Muslim Folklore an evil spirit that robs graves and feeds on the flesh of the dead 2. a person who robs graves 3. a person who derives pleasure from loathsome acts or things… …   English World dictionary

  • Ghoul — A ghoul is a monster from ancient Arabian folklore that dwells in burial grounds and other uninhabited places. The English word comes from the Arabic name for the creature: الغول ghūl , which literally means demon . [cite web|title= ghoul… …   Wikipedia

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