A ghul is also a desert-dwelling, shapeshifting, evil demon that can assume the guise of an animal, especially a hyena. It lures unwary people into the desert wastes or abandoned places to slay and devour them. The creature also preys on young children, drinks blood, steals coins, and eats the dead, then taking the form of the person most recently eaten.
In the Arabic language, the female form is given as ghouleh and the plural is ghilan. In colloquial Arabic, the term is sometimes used to describe a greedy or gluttonous individual.
The star Algol takes its name from the definite Arabic term Rās al-ghūl, or The Demon's Head.