Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any difference between the terms "Walker" and "Zombie" as used in the Walking Dead?

share|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The term "zombie" is never used in The Walking Dead, as far as I can recall. The term Rick's group uses to refer to the animated corpses is simply "walker." The inhabitants of Woodbury use the term "biters" to refer to the animated corpses.

From a viewer's standpoint, "zombie," "walker," and "biter" are synonyms.

In-universe, nobody uses the term "zombie" at all because, as @djmadscribbler explained in comments:

In-universe, the characters haven't had zombies in popular culture--no Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, etc. So they have their own names for the creatures.

share|improve this answer
Your "in-universe" differentiation is pertinent. I have never heard them use the term zombie on the show either. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 7 '13 at 13:58
"In-universe" they haven't had zombies in popular culture - so no Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, etc. So the characters have their own names for the creatures. This is also why in the first season it takes the characters a while to figure out you must damage the brain in order to kill the walkers. Robert Kirkman (creator of the comic and producer of the show) talks about this specifically on the second episode of Talking Dead – djmadscribbler Nov 7 '13 at 18:13
@djmadscribbler This information might even deserve its own answer. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 7 '13 at 21:14
@djmadscribbler: Good commentary; I hope you don't mind me adding some of that to my answer. – Flimzy Nov 7 '13 at 23:20
In the Spanish translated version of the show they are ofter referred as Zombies alongside Walkers. – Ignacio Galdames Oct 13 '14 at 18:47

As far as Walking Dead goes, the term "walker" is just slang for zombie. The term "zombie" is so over used, they had to work it from a different angle. I believe it is a play off of the series name to help it find its niche on television. There is no "real" difference between the terms.

share|improve this answer
In the Walking Dead universe, there was never such a thing as a "Zombie" as it hadn't been conceived. It's not slang, it's not a different angle, it's not a play on the series name. It just flat-out didn't exist in the universe where The Walking Dead takes place. – Johnny Bones Feb 28 '14 at 20:59
@JohnnyBones ... I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say. I never said that "zombie" was used in universe for TWD, just that they use the term "walker" instead of "zombie" ... both mean the same thing on our side of the fence (in our world), which is what I thought the OP was trying to get at. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 28 '14 at 23:27

George Romero termed "Walker" in his zombie horror films as a term for the living dead who could still walk around (see first 5 minutes of Land of the Dead). Other movies and films have adopted it as a word for zombies as its a faux pas to say the word zombie in a zombie film

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.