Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or resembling a ghost, a wraith, or an apparition; spectral.
  • adjective Of or relating to the soul or spirit; spiritual.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Spiritually; mystically; mentally; with reference to the mind as contrasted with the sight.
  • Having to do with the soul or spirit; spiritual; not of the flesh; not carnal or secular.
  • Pertaining or relating to apparitions; of ghostlike character; spectral; supernatural: as, ghostly sounds; a ghostly visitant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb Spiritually; mystically.
  • adjective Relating to the soul; not carnal or secular; spiritual.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to apparitions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to ghosts or spirituality.
  • adjective Spooky; frightening.

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

  • adjective resembling or characteristic of a phantom

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English gostly, gastlich, from Old English gāstlīċ ("spiritual, holy, clerical (not lay), ghastly, ghostly, spectral"), equivalent to ghost +‎ -ly. Cognate with Scots gostly, gastly, gaistlie ("spiritual, ghastly, terrifying"), West Frisian geastlik ("spiritual, clerical, religious"), Dutch geestelijk ("spiritual, clerical, ecclesiastical"), German geistlich ("spiritual, sacred, religious"), Danish geistlig ("ecclesiastical, clerical").

Examples

  • A full moon was drenching the mountains in ghostly light as some 60

    KIA KIA/BNR

  • The Palaeologi reigned in ghostly supremacy over the shreds and tatters of Byzantium until the Turks seized Constantinople in 1453.

    superversive: Gondor, Byzantium, and Feudalism

  • "Places Where Shadows Grow" gets into those stories the Sci-Fi Channel likes to mention in ghostly documentaries around the Halloween holiday season.

    Review of the Day: Scary

  • That indeterminacy is itself masked in ghostly reflections of a former paradigm.

    Paley, "Apocalypse Without Millenium" Part 2

  • Blank rectangular patches edged with reddish dust — ghost pictures in ghostly frames — showed where, no doubt, there had been photographs of the Shah and his family or his monuments.

    Among the Believers

  • Blank rectangular patches edged with reddish dust — ghost pictures in ghostly frames — showed where, no doubt, there had been photographs of the Shah and his family or his monuments.

    Among the Believers

  • Night came on, and a full moon rose high over the trees into the sky, lighting the land till it lay bathed in ghostly day.

    Chapter 7, The Sounding of the Call

  • Night came on, and a full moon rose high over the trees into the sky, lighting the land till it lay bathed in ghostly day.

    Chapter 7

  • I suspect that the feeling we call ghostly is but the sense of abandonment in the lack of companion life; but be this as it may,

    Malcolm

  • After months chided in ghostly Twilight spoof spearheaded by Jimmy Fallon, Robert Pattinson is reportedly set to come face-to-face with the comedian on NBC’s Late Night next month.

    Jimmy Fallon Robert Pattinson “Twilight” Spoof

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