Definitions

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

  • n. A ghostly figure; a specter.
  • n. A sudden or unusual sight: "[The designer's] indoor-outdoor reversals and juxtapositions call forth a Magritte apparition beneath a Miami moon” ( Herbert Muschamp).
  • n. The act of appearing; appearance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of becoming visible; appearance; visibility.
  • n. The thing appearing; a visible object; a form.
  • n. An unexpected, wonderful, or preternatural appearance; especially something such as a ghost or phantom.
  • n. The first appearance of a star or other luminary after having been invisible or obscured;—opposed to occultation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of becoming visible; appearance; visibility.
  • n. The thing appearing; a visible object; a form.
  • n. An unexpected, wonderful, or preternatural appearance; a ghost; a specter; a phantom.
  • n. The first appearance of a star or other luminary after having been invisible or obscured; -- opposed to occultation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to to appear in phantom form.
  • n. The act of appearing or coming into sight; appearance; the state of being visible; visibility.
  • n. That which appears or becomes visible; an appearance, especially of a remarkable or phenomenal kind.
  • n. Specifically A ghostly appearance; a specter or phantom: now the usual sense of the word.
  • n. In astronomy, the first appearance of a star or other luminary after having been obscured: opposed to occultation.

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

  • n. a ghostly appearing figure
  • n. something existing in perception only
  • n. an act of appearing or becoming visible unexpectedly
  • n. the appearance of a ghostlike figure

Etymologies

Middle English apparicioun, from Old French apparition, from Late Latin appāritiō, appāritiōn-, an appearance, from Latin appāritus, past participle of appārēre, to appear; see appear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French apparition, from Latin apparitio, from appareo. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • At other moments in the narrative, the haunting of the apparition is achieved solely through the powers of the voice — en route to the Villa Altieri, for example, a voice entirely lacking in any visually identifiable origin emanates as if from nowhere, at once betraying the uncanny presence of Vivaldi's ghostly companion as well as maintaining his invisibility:

    Gothic Visions, Romantic Acoustics

  • These aren't pluralizations, which should be obvious from the examples. (e.g. the plural of apparition is apparitions.)

    Paranormal Pluralizations

  • The visual aspect is not all of it—hence the misleading term apparition.

    Experiencing the Next World Now

  • This strange apparition is no sooner left behind than two or three more, some smaller, some larger, come into sight; and so on all the way to Cairo.

    Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers

  • And another thing troubles me -- the apparition is English.

    The American Claimant

  • I used the word apparition because of the ghost-like visage that such a reflection creates.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » Frank Murdock’s Review Forum

  • It turns out she's read "The Anatomy of Ghosts," a tract Holdsworth wrote to debunk the claims of spiritualism, and she hopes he can convince her anxious son that the apparition was a delusion.

    Andrew Taylor's 'Anatomy of Ghosts': Strange sightings in 18th-century England

  • The vision of a tall-masted ship, at sail on the ocean, came to Deeti on an otherwise ordinary day, but she knew instantly that the apparition was a sign of destiny, for she had never seen such a vessel before, not even in a dream: how could she have, living as she did in northern Bihar, four hundred miles from the coast?

    Excerpt: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

  • Chapter One The vision of a tall-masted ship, at sail on the ocean, came to Deeti on an otherwise ordinary day, but she knew instantly that the apparition was a sign of destiny, for she had never seen such a vessel before, not even in a dream: how could she have, living as she did in northern Bihar, four hundred miles from the coast?

    'Sea of Poppies'

  • The vision of a tall-masted ship, at sail on the ocean, came to Deeti on an otherwise ordinary day, but she knew instantly that the apparition was a sign of destiny …

    Pirates, Opium and Servitude: Retracing India's Past

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