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Folkloric monster or evil spirit

Ghoul (Arabic: غول, ghūl) is a demon-like being or monstrous humanoid originating in pre-Islamic Arabian religion, associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh. In modern fiction, the term has often been used for a certain kind of undead monster.

By extension, the word ghoul is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to a person who delights in the macabre or whose profession is linked directly to death, such as a gravedigger or graverobber.

Early etymology

Ghoul is from the Arabic غُول ghūl, from غَالَ ghāla, "to seize". In Arabic, the term is also sometimes used to describe a greedy or gluttonous individual. See also the etymology of gal and gala: "to cast spells," "scream," "crow," and its association with "warlike ardor," "wrath," and the Akkadian "gallu," which refer to demons of the underworld.

The term was first used in English literature in 1786 in William Beckford's Orientalist novel Vathek, which describes the ghūl of Arabic folklore. This definition of the ghoul has persisted until modern times with ghouls appearing in popular culture


Further Resources


What They Don't Tell You About The Ghouls - D&D


September 15, 2021

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