Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • Spiritually; mystically; mentally; with reference to the mind as contrasted with the sight.

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

  • adj. resembling or characteristic of a phantom

Etymologies

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"). (Wiktionary)

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

  • 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

  • "You can see people when they take a shower," he says, referring to the ghostly silhouette visible from the ground floor and the stairwell.

    The Luxury of Space and Silence in Stockholm

  • I admit that there were some parts in the movie that freaked me out, namely the ghostly figures at the beginning of the movie that Rosa saw out of the corner of her eye.

    The Maid (2006)

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