from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An apparent word or false form found in manuscript or print, due to some blunder of the scribe, editor, or printer.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
So also, "canoe" is a ghost-word, traced to a misreading of _scaphas_ as
Sometimes, even — as in the case of syllabus — the ghost-word has acquired flesh and bones and become a respectable citizen of the world of words.
Many a ghost-word due to a seventeenth century misprint still gibbers at us from the mote ambitious dictionaries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Alas and dammit, Chambers has dropped the last three words of its definition of ghost-word: "a word that has originated in the blunder of a scribe or printer -- common in dictionaries."