Definitions

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

  • n. One that returns after a lengthy absence.
  • n. One who returns after death.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who returns from a long absence.
  • n. A person or thing reborn.
  • n. A supernatural being that returns from the dead; a zombie or ghost.
  • adj. Used as an adjective.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who returns; especially, one who returns after a long period of absence or after death; a ghost; a specter; specifically, in mod. spiritualism, an apparition; a materialization.
  • n. In mathematics, a form which continually returns as leading coefficient of irreducible covariants.

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

  • adj. coming back
  • adj. of or relating to or typical of a revenant
  • n. someone who has returned from the dead
  • n. a person who returns after a lengthy absence

Etymologies

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

French, from present participle of revenir, to return, from Old French; see revenue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

19th century. From French revenant, the present participle of revenir ("to return"). Compare revenue.

Examples

  • But spacers, being spacers, would prefer for their saviour to be a revenant from the past rather than a modern-day phenomenon.

    365 tomorrows » 2006 » August : A New Free Flash Fiction SciFi Story Every Day

  • Loved the use of the word revenant, haven't seen it used so perfectly before.

    pretty dumb things

  • If being a vampire was a world of cold punctuated by brief moments of warmth at feeding time, being a revenant was a world of ice with no relief.

    Crossed

  • Few aspects of modern life go untouched: labor laws are in effect to prevent slave labor abuse of the undead, for whom the official, politically correct term is a "revenant".

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • But in "Exit Ghost," Zuckerman feels like a "revenant" while walking the streets of present-day Manhattan, and he's not the only shade around.

    The Rake’s Progress Giving Up The Ghost

  • One seems to see him, a languid-limbed "revenant," with heavy-lidded drowsy eyes and voluptuous lips, emerging all swathed and wrapped in costly cerements out of the tomb of some Babylonian king.

    Suspended Judgments Essays on Books and Sensations

  • It may not be too great a flight of imagination to conceive our noble 'revenant' not forgetful of the great troubles of his own day, and anxious to know how often London had been burned down since his time, and how often the plague had carried off its thousands.

    Lectures and Essays

  • Since the downfall of the Empire he has lived a sort of Bohemian existence in Paris, where his striking resemblance to Louis Napoleon has won for him the nickname of "the ghost" (le revenant).

    Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, August, 1878

  • During his Congressional career, the government was little more than an attaché of the French legation, and the opposition to which he belonged a helpless revenant from the dead and buried Colonial past.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867

  • 'revenant' not forgetful of the great troubles of his own day, and anxious to know how often London had been burned down since his time, and how often the plague had carried off its thousands.

    On the Advisableness of Improving Natural Knowledge

Comments

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  • Thank you, Prolagus! That's exactly what I was thinking.

    *wanders over to Casimir Pulaski Day*

    June 11, 2010

  • When the revenant came down

    We couldn't imagine what it was

    In the spirit of three stars

    The alien thing that took its form

    Then to Lebanon, oh God

    The flashing at night, the sirens grow and grow

    Oh, history involved itself

    Mysterious shade that took its form

    Or what it was, incarnation, three stars

    Delivering signs and dusting from their eye

    (Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, IL, by Sufjan Stevens)

    June 11, 2010

  • Dawn-sniffing revenant,

    Plodder through midnight rain,

    Question me again.

    from "Casualty" by Seamus Heaney

    June 11, 2010

  • Yup. I fixed it.

    February 24, 2009

  • Question mark in tag is borky bork bork, yanno.

    February 24, 2009

  • Good idea. I've been tagging words as "weirdnet" but that's not specific enough.

    February 24, 2009

  • Yeah, someone should tag those. It would be great to have a list of all the words WeirdNet defines as "a human being."

    February 24, 2009

  • Oh, look! WeirdNet added its all-time favorite definition here: "(n): a human being."

    February 24, 2009

  • With their revenant banks now underwritten by the government, the executives took a luxury holiday in Prodigal.

    February 24, 2009

  • Also: "someone who returns from a long absence". How would you contrast this with "prodigal"?

    February 24, 2009

  • A visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living. (Wikipedia)

    May 22, 2008

  • A sadly underrated word. I love this word.

    May 3, 2007