Since The Walking Dead started, we've heard names like Walkers, Bitters, Dead Heads and some others I don't recall, when referring to the zombies. But, one thing no one has called them are Zombies.

I would have thought that the man at the CDC would have referred to them or their condition by using the term Zombie, but he doesn't (I have to re watch to confirm this).

But by-and-large, the term is avoided. Why is the "Zombie" never used in the show?

  • 2
    Related (maybe even duplicate): movies.stackexchange.com/q/15021/49.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 28, 2014 at 19:06
  • The term 'Zombie' is definitely used in the comic books. I just so happen to be reading them at the moment, and in the last 10 or so pages of edition 12 they have been referred to as zombies twice. I only really noticed after reading this question, so it's quite possible they've been called that from the beginning.
    – Rob
    Mar 4, 2014 at 9:50
  • The question should be edited to include more movies. Most of the zombies movie don't call them "zombie", and there's only the answer here concerning the Walking dead.
    – Quidam
    Dec 11, 2019 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


This is taken from an interview on thewrap.com:

Robert Kirkman reveals why zombies don't actually exist on "Walking Dead"

So, why are the living dead referred to as "walkers" instead of zombies on "The Walking Dead"?

One of the pleasures of watching AMC's new "Walking Dead" aftershow — "Talking Dead" — is the chance for fans to get answers to questions like that one. "Walking Dead" comics creator and TV series producer Robert Kirkman answered it on Sunday.

In the world of "The Walking Dead," he said, the concept of zombies doesn't exist.

"One of the things about this world is that people don't know how to shoot people in the head at first, and they're not familiar with zombies, per se," Kirkman said on "Talking Dead." "This isn't a world the (George) Romero movies exist in, for instance … because we don't want to portray it that way, we felt like having them be saying 'zombie' all the time would harken back to all of the zombie films which we, in the real world, know about.

"So by calling them something different, we're kind of giving a nod to … these people don't understand the situation. They've never seen this in pop culture, this is a completely new thing for them."

  • 2
    When citing other sources, please provide the link. Feb 28, 2014 at 19:23
  • 2
    This makes sense and answers another question I had about if in their universe they knew what zombies were. Feb 28, 2014 at 21:37
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    So this is a parallel universe then... kind of SF ;-)
    – vonjd
    Mar 1, 2014 at 9:40
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    That's strange, I'm reading edition 12 of the comic books right now,and they've been referred to as zombies twice already.
    – Rob
    Mar 3, 2014 at 20:27
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    @Rob I think the simple answer is that while the TV series is based on the Comic Book, they are different in plot and characters. They're set in different universes. Kirkman likely decided that having the characters unaware of a zombie trope would be a more interesting dramatic choice in a live-action setting.
    – ghoppe
    Mar 4, 2014 at 20:09

Its very clever actually, because zombies don't actually exist. Its just a concept created for popular fiction in our world. But in the world of the walking dead, they are real. So perhaps by being real, the is no need for the concept. Why conceptualize something that exists. Its like a twist on reality. In our world "The real world", we know about zombies but they are not real, only in our imaginations, but in the world of the walking dead, they really do exist yet they have never conceptualized the idea of a zombie.

  • 4
    +0: Welcome to the site! I agree with your logic, but this doesn't add anything that the accepted answer by @Johnny Bones doesn't already cover, so probably should be deleted. When adding answers, keep an eye on what has already been posted to see if you are introducing anything new to the discussion. Dec 1, 2014 at 23:54

I think the reason is because the people have never been in the world before, so in terms zombies never exsisted in movies or in real life so no one know what the heck they are.

  • 3
    Well, the interview cited in the accepted answer pretty much says that, so how is your answer adding anything to the question?
    – MattD
    Oct 13, 2014 at 19:53
  • He gives his opinion. So it reinforce the answer ;)
    – Quidam
    Dec 11, 2019 at 17:21

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