the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.
a mere shadow or semblance; a trace:
He’s a ghost of his former self.
a remote possibility:
He hasn’t a ghost of a chance.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a spiritual being.
the principle of life; soul; spirit.
a secondary image, especially one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver.
Also called ghost image. Photography. a faint secondary or out-of-focus image in a photographic print or negative resulting from reflections within the camera lens.
an oral word game in which each player in rotation adds a letter to those supplied by preceding players, the object being to avoid ending a word.
Optics. a series of false spectral lines produced by a diffraction grating with unevenly spaced lines.
Metalworking. a streak appearing on a freshly machined piece of steel containing impurities.
a red blood cell having no hemoglobin.
a fictitious employee, business, etc., fabricated especially for the purpose of manipulating funds or avoiding taxes:
Investigation showed a payroll full of ghosts.
verb (used with object)
to ghostwrite (a book, speech, etc.).
Engraving. to lighten the background of (a photograph) before engraving.
verb (used without object)
to go about or move like a ghost.
(of a sailing vessel) to move when there is no perceptible wind.
to pay people for work not performed, especially as a way of manipulating funds.
fabricated for purposes of deception or fraud:
We were making contributions to a ghost company.
give up the ghost,
the disembodied spirit of a dead person, supposed to haunt the living as a pale or shadowy vision; phantom related adjective spectral
a haunting memory: the ghost of his former life rose up before him
a faint trace or possibility of something; glimmer: a ghost of a smile
the spirit; soul (archaic, except in the phrase the Holy Ghost)
See ghost word
Also called ghost edition. an entry recorded in a bibliography of which no actual proof exists
Another name for ghostwriter See ghostwrite
(modifier) falsely recorded as doing a particular job or fulfilling a particular function in order that some benefit, esp money, may be obtained: a ghost worker
give up the ghost
(transitive) to haunt
(intransitive) to move effortlessly and smoothly, esp unnoticed: he ghosted into the penalty area
Old English gast “soul, spirit, life, breath; good or bad spirit, angel, demon,” from Proto-Germanic *ghoizdoz (cf. Old Saxon gest, Old Frisian jest, Middle Dutch gheest, Dutch geest, German Geist “spirit, ghost”), from PIE root *gheis- “to be excited, amazed, frightened” (cf. Sanskrit hedah “wrath;” Avestan zaesha- “horrible, frightful;” Gothic usgaisjan, Old English gæstan “to frighten”). This was the usual West Germanic word for “supernatural being,” and the primary sense seems to have been connected to the idea of “to wound, tear, pull to pieces.” The surviving Old English senses, however, are in Christian writing, where it is used to render Latin spiritus, a sense preserved in Holy Ghost. Modern sense of “disembodied spirit of a dead person” is attested from late 14c. and returns the word toward its ancient sense.
Most Indo-European words for “soul, spirit” also double with reference to supernatural spirits. Many have a base sense of “appearance” (e.g. Greek phantasma; French spectre; Polish widmo, from Old Church Slavonic videti “to see;” Old English scin, Old High German giskin, originally “appearance, apparition,” related to Old English scinan, Old High German skinan “to shine”). Other concepts are in French revenant, literally “returning” (from the other world), Old Norse aptr-ganga, literally “back-comer.” Breton bugelnoz is literally “night-child.” Latin manes probably is a euphemism.
The gh- spelling appeared early 15c. in Caxton, influenced by Flemish and Middle Dutch gheest, but was rare in English before mid-16c. Sense of “slight suggestion” (in ghost image, ghost of a chance, etc.) is first recorded 1610s; that in ghost writing is from 1884, but that term is not found until 1919. Ghost town is from 1908. To give up the ghost “die” was in Old English. Ghost in the machine was Gilbert Ryle’s term (1949) for “the mind viewed as separate from the body.”
: I ”ghosted” my wife’s cookbook (1922+)
[theater sense said to be fr a line in Hamlet: ”The ghost walks,” implying that pay is at hand; analogous with ”the eagle shits,” referring to the source of pay]
(Or “zombie”) The image of a user’s session on IRC and similar systems, left when the session has been terminated (properly or, often, improperly) but the server (or the network at large) believes the connection is still active and belongs to a real user.
an old Saxon word equivalent to soul or spirit. It is the translation of the Hebrew _nephesh_ and the Greek _pneuma_, both meaning “breath,” “life,” “spirit,” the “living principle” (Job 11:20; Jer. 15:9; Matt. 27:50; John 19:30). The expression “to give up the ghost” means to die (Lam. 1:19; Gen. 25:17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11). (See HOLY GHOST.)
In addition to the idiom beginning with
noun a person who works to extinguish ghosts and other spirits
- Ghost car
noun 1. (Canadian) an unmarked police car
- Ghost cell
ghost cell n.
- Ghost corpuscle
ghost corpuscle n. See achromocyte.