Ghost vs ghoul

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Ghost and ghoul are two spine-chilling words that are often confused. We will examine the differing definitions of the words ghost and ghoul, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A ghost is an apparition of the spirit of a dead person. Ghost may also mean a faint, duplicate image when discussing a faulty photograph or weak electronic signal. Ghost is also used to mean a trace of something. When used as a verb, ghost may mean to be the secret author of work that is attributed to someone else. A more recent meaning of the word ghost is to suddenly disappear from a relationship without explanation. Related words are ghosts, ghosted, ghosting, ghostly. The word ghost is derived from the Old English word gast which may mean angel or demon, good spirit or bad spirit, breath.

A ghoul is an evil spirit that robs graves and eats the dead. Ghoul may also be used figuratively to mean someone who is morbid, and overly interested in death. The idea of the ghoul is borrowed from Arabic culture. and was introduced to Europe in the 1780s by the novel Vathek by William Beckford. The word ghoul is derived from the Arabic word ġūl. Related words are ghouls and ghoulish.


A MUM claims her house is haunted by a ghost called Malcolm, who mimics her partner, smashes up photographs and even puts the kettle on for guests. (The Sun)

You know it’s closing in on Halloween when you see a 10-foot ghoul standing guard alongside Highway 229 between Toledo and Siletz. (The Newport News Times)

Ian Brady’s body must be disposed of without music or ceremony, a High Court judge ruled as he banned the killer’s “ghoulish” choice of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique for his funeral. (The Times)