Share this entry

zombie Syllabification: zom·bie
Pronunciation: /ˈzämbē/

Definition of zombie in English:

noun

1A corpse said to be revived by witchcraft, especially in certain African and Caribbean religions.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Of course, the people of Haiti claim that they see zombies very often, but no one has been able to prove it.
Synonyms
living dead, undead, walking dead, soulless corpse
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
More example sentences
  • Day of the Dead (1985) shows the beginnings of a new world, where survivors learn to domesticate the zombies.
  • There are no vampires, werewolves, zombies, or outer space creatures.
  • The zombies are, of course, the ultimate consumers.
1.2 informal A person who is or appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • As D-Day approached I became a zombie, all distant stares and unresponsive grunts.
  • I stopped… progressing for a while, a sort of zombie of my former self.
1.3 Philosophy A hypothetical being that responds to stimulus as a person would but that does not experience consciousness.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • What we are supposing to be absent in the zombie's mind is just phenomenal consciousness.
1.4A computer controlled by another person without the owner’s knowledge and used for sending spam or other illegal or illicit activities.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Zombies can be used by criminal hackers to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks, spread spam messages or to steal confidential information.
2A tall mixed drink consisting of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice.
Example sentences
  • Try drinking the Zombie, but don't have too many.

Derivatives

zombielike

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • This morning, I stumble downstairs in the zombielike pre-coffee state and wander aimlessly around the kitchen.
  • He seemed very strange, anaesthetized and zombielike.
  • Charles is medicated to a zombielike mellowness and has neither held down a job nor moved out of his mother's house in Philadelphia.

Origin

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

More
  • This is of West African origin; Kikongo zumbi ‘fetish’ is a related form. Figurative use meaning ‘dull, slow-witted person’ is found from the 1930s.

Words that rhyme with zombie

Dolby • Crosby

Definition of zombie in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources