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Definition of Stalker

A stalker is someone who is dedicated to following or contacting another person, especially a celebrity or someone they used to have a relationship with, in an annoying and frightening way.


The word stalker comes from the English language and was first used in the Scottish Constitution of 1424. A stalker was defined as a deer poacher who was punishable by a fine. It was clear that someone who hunted in the woods had to be very agile, which led to broadening the meaning of stalker to include someone who walks with large strides.

At that time, and for centuries to come, “stalking” was conceived exclusively as the pursuit of animals. Only in the last 50 years or so has it been used in a specifically human context, and as the stalker was soon seen as a threat to his victim, stalking again became a crime.

The rise of celebrity has provided an opportunity for stalkers. In recent years, many TV and movie celebrities have begun to share details of their personal lives with the world through TV shows and social media, thus opening a door into their lives. This, consequently, has been an incentive for stalkers to have an easy time stalking these stars.


A dubious role model for any celebrity stalker is Gert van der Graaf, a Dutch forklift driver and fan of the Swedish music group ABBA.

This man started stalking the band’s singer, Agnetha Faltskog, in 1995. After an initial complaint to the police, she gave in to his interest and in 1997 they began a romantic relationship.