- (in voodoo)
- 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.
- the supernatural force itself.
- a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton.
- an eccentric or peculiar person.
- a snake god worshiped in West Indian and Brazilian religious practices of African origin.
- a tall drink made typically with several kinds of rum, citrus juice, and often apricot liqueur.
- Canadian Slang. an army conscript assigned to home defense during World War II.
noun plural -bies or -bis
- a person who is or appears to be lifeless, apathetic, or totally lacking in independent judgment; automaton
- a supernatural spirit that reanimates a dead body
- a corpse brought to life in this manner
- the snake god of voodoo cults in the West Indies, esp Haiti, and in scattered areas of the southern US
- the python god revered in parts of West Africa
- a piece of computer code that instructs an infected computer to send a virus on to other computer systems
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.