Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats.
  • n. The center of spiritual life; the soul.
  • n. A demon or spirit.
  • n. A returning or haunting memory or image.
  • n. A slight or faint trace: just a ghost of a smile.
  • n. The tiniest bit: not a ghost of a chance.
  • n. A faint, false image, as:
  • n. A secondary image on a television or radar screen caused by reflected waves.
  • n. A displaced image in a photograph caused by the optical system of the camera.
  • n. A false spectral line caused by imperfections in the diffraction grating.
  • n. A displaced image in a mirror caused by reflection from the front of the glass.
  • n. Informal A ghostwriter.
  • n. A nonexistent publication listed in bibliographies.
  • n. A fictitious employee or business.
  • n. Physiology A red blood cell having no hemoglobin.
  • intransitive v. Informal To engage in ghostwriting.
  • intransitive v. To move noiselessly like a ghost: "Two young deer ghosted out of the woods” ( Nancy M. Debevoise).
  • transitive v. To haunt.
  • transitive v. Informal To ghostwrite: was hired to ghost the memoirs of a famous executive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The spirit; the soul of man.
  • n. The disembodied soul; the soul or spirit of a deceased person; a spirit appearing after death; an apparition; a specter.
  • n. Any faint shadowy semblance; an unsubstantial image; a phantom; a glimmering.
  • n. A false image formed in a telescope, camera, or other optical device by reflection from the surfaces of one or more lenses.
  • n. An unwanted image similar to and overlapping or adjacent to the main one on a television screen, caused by the transmitted image being received both directly and via reflection.
  • n. A ghostwriter.
  • n. An unresponsive user on IRC, resulting from the user's client disconnecting without notifying the server.
  • n. an image of a file or hard disk.
  • n. An understudy.
  • n. A covert (and deniable) agent.
  • n. The faint image that remains after an attempt to remove graffiti.
  • v. To haunt; to appear to in the form of an apparition.
  • v. To ghostwrite.
  • v. to copy a file or hard drive image.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The spirit; the soul of man.
  • n. The disembodied soul; the soul or spirit of a deceased person; a spirit appearing after death; an apparition; a specter.
  • n. Any faint shadowy semblance; an unsubstantial image; a phantom; a glimmering
  • n. A false image formed in a telescope by reflection from the surfaces of one or more lenses.
  • intransitive v. To die; to expire.
  • transitive v. To appear to or haunt in the form of an apparition.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To appear to in the form of a ghost; haunt as a spirit or specter.
  • To give up the ghost; die; expire.
  • n. Breath; spirit; specifically, the breath; the spirit; the soul of man.
  • n. The soul of a dead person; the soul or spirit separate from the body; more especially, a disembodied spirit imagined as wandering among or haunting living persons; a human specter or apparition.
  • n. A spirit; a demon.
  • n. A spirit in general; an unearthly specter or apparition.
  • n. A dead body.
  • n. A mere shadow or semblance.
  • n. In optics, a spot of light or secondary image caused by a defect of the instrument, generally by reflections from the lenses.
  • n. Specifically In photography, a glint of light cast by the lens on the focusing-glass or on the plate during exposure, in the latter case producing a more or less defined opaque spot. It results usually from the presence of a too strongly illuminated surface or object in or near the field of the lens. Also called flare.
  • n. An order founded at Montpellier, France, about the end of the twelfth century, and united to the Order of St. Lazarus by Pope Clement XIII.
  • n. A Neapolitan order. See Order of the Knot, under knot
  • n. Synonyms Ghost, Shade, Apparition, Specter, Phantom, Phantasm. Ghost is the old word for the disembodied spirit, especially as appearing to man: as, the ghost of Hamlet's father; the ghost of Banquo. Shade is a soft and poetic word for ghost: as, the shade of Creüsa appeared to Æneas. An apparition is a ghost as appearing to sight, perhaps suddenly or unexpectedly; it may also be a fancied appearance, while a ghost is supposed to be real: as, Jupiter made a cloud into an apparition of Juno; Macbeth saw an apparition of a dagger; the witches showed him an apparition of a crowned child. A specter is an alarming or horrifying preternatural personal appearance, having less individuality, perhaps, than a ghost or shade, but more than an apparition necessarily has. A phantom has an apparent, not a real, existence; it differs from a phantasm in emphasizing the unreality simply and in representing a single object, while phantasm emphasizes the deception put upon the mind, and may include more than one object.
  • n. One who does literary, legal, or artistic work for another, who gets all the credit; one who ‘devils’ for another.
  • n. A false line in a diffraction-spectrum caused by certain periodic irregularities in the ruling of the grating which produces the spectrum. Ghosts usually occur in pairs accompanying a conspicuous line on each side of it and near it. See grating.
  • n. A red blood-corpuscle from which the red coloring-matter or hemoglobin has escaped.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. haunt like a ghost; pursue
  • n. a writer who gives the credit of authorship to someone else
  • n. a suggestion of some quality
  • n. a mental representation of some haunting experience
  • v. move like a ghost
  • n. the visible disembodied soul of a dead person
  • v. write for someone else

Etymologies

Middle English gost, from Old English gāst, breath, spirit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English gost, gast, from Old English gāst ("breath, soul, spirit, ghost, being"), from Proto-Germanic *gaistaz (“ghost, spirit”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰeizd-, *ǵʰizd- (“anger, agitation”), *ǵʰeysd-, *ǵʰisd- (“anger, agitation”). Cognate with Scots ghaist ("ghost"), West Frisian geast ("spirit"), Dutch geest ("spirit, mind, ghost"), German Geist ("spirit, mind, intellect"), Swedish gast ("ghost"), Sanskrit हेड (heḍa, "anger, hatred"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term "ghost winery" refers to places that were started in the mid- to late 19th century, a time when the California wine industry was booming, but were abandoned in the early 20th century.

    The Seattle Times

  • “As God is my witness,” I growl, “if you say the word ghost again, I will find a way to drown you in my shot glass.”

    Soul Trapper

  • ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: John, well, you guys have used the term ghost town.

    CNN Transcript Sep 1, 2008

  • We told you what the term ghost riding - this is kind of drivers on a dare here.

    CNN Transcript Jan 6, 2007

  • It's almost as if you may have "cooties" by saying the word "ghost" and '"I saw" in the same sentence.

    Alexandra Holzer: Rich or Famous, Dead or Alive... Nothing Is Perfect

  • Gabriel and Michael Corrigan thought that their father was killed by the Tabula, but now there are signs that his ghost is alive.

    John Twelve Hawks - An interview with author

  • She was excited because Valentina had actually used the word ghost.

    Her Fearful Symmetry

  • Before the elections, I wanted to push the Afghan institutions -- and we were there to support Afghan institutions -- to eliminate what I call the ghost polling centers.

    CNN Transcript Oct 2, 2009

  • He was working on some experiments aimed at finding what he called the ghost particle.

    The Beautiful Miscellaneous

  • Many of these Iraqi ministries have what they call ghost employees, fictitious people on the payroll and that money just vanishes through corruption.

    CNN Transcript Feb 7, 2007

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Comments

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  • "Great Caesar's ghost!" is a traditional exclamation of surprise.

    June 13, 2009