See more synonyms for zombie on Thesaurus.com
  1. (in voodoo)
    1. the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose.
    2. the supernatural force itself.
  2. Informal.
    1. a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton.
    2. an eccentric or peculiar person.
  3. a snake god worshiped in West Indian and Brazilian religious practices of African origin.
  4. a tall drink made typically with several kinds of rum, citrus juice, and often apricot liqueur.
  5. Canadian Slang. an army conscript assigned to home defense during World War II.

Origin of zombie

1810–20; apparently < Kongo or Kimbundu nzambi god
Related formszom·bi·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zombie

Contemporary Examples of zombie

Historical Examples of zombie

  • It was soon plain that she was a zombie with about ten words in her vocabulary.

    The Planet Strappers

    Raymond Zinke Gallun

  • No one was in the stores, and no one was bothering with the zombie maze.


    Cory Doctorow

  • I logged back in and there I was, still on the deck of the Zombie Charger, waiting for someone to wind me up.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • A mad enterprise indeed—a ghost and a zombie, going to seek out a foe whose numbers and whose might grew ever more apparent.

    World of the Drone

    Robert Abernathy

  • One word from Douglas and she had become a zombie—a mindless muscle preparation that existed only to obey.

    The Lani People

    J. F. Bone

British Dictionary definitions for zombie



noun plural -bies or -bis
  1. a person who is or appears to be lifeless, apathetic, or totally lacking in independent judgment; automaton
  2. a supernatural spirit that reanimates a dead body
  3. a corpse brought to life in this manner
  4. the snake god of voodoo cults in the West Indies, esp Haiti, and in scattered areas of the southern US
  5. the python god revered in parts of West Africa
  6. a piece of computer code that instructs an infected computer to send a virus on to other computer systems
Derived Formszombiism, noun

Word Origin for zombie

from Kongo zumbi good-luck fetish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for zombie

1871, of West African origin (cf. Kikongo zumbi "fetish;" Kimbundu nzambi "god"), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning "reanimated corpse" in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning "phantom, ghost," from Spanish sombra "shade, ghost." Sense "slow-witted person" is recorded from 1936.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper