Zombie??? He looks like a Ghoul to me!!

When did the term ‘Zombie’ become the popular term for undead flesh-eaters?
the cambridge dictionary definition aludes to a living, yet seemingly unthinking person.

zombie
noun [C]
INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
a person who lacks energy, seems to act without thinking and is not aware of what is happening around them

I’m curiousthe original ‘Night of the Living Dead’ never uses the term ‘Zombie’ in the movie, only the term ‘ghoul’.

According to a Kids Almanac I saw way back in the day, it comes from Swahili. Don’t know if that’s true, though.

I’m pretty sure that zombies and ghouls became conflated when Vodoo started becomming part of the explination for why the dead were rising in zombie films. They borrowed the terminology but kept the ghoul’s creepy flesh eating. Additionally old vampire ideas are in the mix as ghouls aren’t contagious in the way that our beloved zombies are. They have taken the disease manifest role that nosferatu used to hold but was yanked out of once he was made sexy. Vampires now have a fear of sex/sensuality and sexually transmited disease incarnate thing going on for them.

I’d recommend looking at (if you have a store nearby that sells RPGs) GURPS: Horror, third edition written by Kennith Hite. It organizes the section on monsters by what fears they represent and gives a good account of history and development. Just a quick flip through that section and the bibliography will give you a good place to start looking if you want to know more about how our modern monsters developed.

Cecil Adams on: How do I go about creating a zombie?

Hm. I’ve never seen any crossover between the two. A ghoul is an undead creature that feeds on the dead, while a zombie is an undead creature that preys upon the living. The word “ghoul”, according to dictionary.com, comes from an Arabic word meaning “to snatch”. It came to mean a person (or thing) who robs the grave. Zombies will chase the living before they’ll dig up a corpse.

As for why they used the word “ghoul” rather than “zombie” in Night of the Living Dead, I dunno. Perhaps “zombie” wasn’t as widely known back then, or maybe they just plain liked the word better.

In Dawn of the Dead (Romero’s sequel to Night) towards the end of the flick, the character of Peter is talking to Flyboy on their walkie-talkies, and he called the creatures “zombies”.