\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the seat of life or intelligence : soul give up the ghost
2 : a disembodied soul especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness
4a : a faint shadowy trace a ghost of a smile
b : the least bit not a ghost of a chance
5 : a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection
6 : one who ghostwrites
7 : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin


ghosted; ghosting; ghosts

Definition of ghost (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to haunt like a ghost
2 : ghostwrite ghosted the mayor's autobiography
3 informal : to cut off all contact with (someone) : to subject (someone, such as a former romantic partner) to ghosting — see ghosting sense 2 No one wants to be ghosted, mostly because it sucks to admit that the person you gushed about last week is now pretending you don't exist …— Ellen Scott

intransitive verb

1a : to move silently like a ghost
b : to sail quietly in light winds

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Other Words from ghost


ghostlike \ ˈgōst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ghostlike (audio) \ adjective
ghosty \ ˈgō-​stē How to pronounce ghosty (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ghost in a Sentence

Noun a house haunted by ghosts looked for ghosts in the graveyard on Halloween Verb She ghosted the mayor's autobiography.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As meal delivery heats up, ghost restaurants are those that concentrate solely on meal delivery or take-out. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "6 food and drink trends to watch for in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 There’s a big motif in the movie that real life can be more horrifying than ghosts. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Nicolas Pesce on His R-Rated ‘Grudge’ Reboot: ‘There’s Something Heavy Metal About Making Horror’," 2 Jan. 2020 Skylight Opera Theatre and Milwaukee Opera Theatre team up on Gilbert and Sullivan's satirical comic opera, featuring ghosts and a witch's curse. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "20 enticing Milwaukee concerts and shows in early 2020," 2 Jan. 2020 From wildlife spotting in Etosha National Park to ghost hunting in Kolmanskop, Namibia will easily become your new favorite place. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Ghana Is Great, But Here Are 6 African Countries You Also Need To Visit," 24 Dec. 2019 Co-creator Ryan Murphy’s anthology horror series, which circled through genre stories about witches, ghosts and killer clowns, sustained a tone both of queasy, gory suspense — isn’t cheap horror the best?! Tom Gliatto,, "The Best TV Shows of the Decade, from Game of Thrones to Stranger Things," 23 Dec. 2019 Enter Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who is visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve. CBS News, "Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" made the holiday what it is today," 21 Dec. 2019 The name tusu is said to reference the drink’s ability to protect the drinker from ghosts. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian, "Nine Delicious Holiday Drinks From Around the World," 20 Dec. 2019 Paul Bradford, ghost hunter, lead investigator and local hosts the show along with Adam Ellis and Jen Lewis. Briana Rice,, "Harrison resident Paul Bradford featured in new ghost-hunting TV show 'Trending Fear'," 19 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And that brings us to the other side of the equation: ghosting by candidates, which seems to be on the rise. Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities, "Working Strategies: Ghosting interviewers, candidates, and everyone else," 28 Sep. 2019 The teen made an exception to her 'Gram ghosting to pose for a picture with her mom and her grandma, Blythe Danner, in honor of Paltrow's 47th birthday on Friday. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gwyneth Paltrow's 15-Year-Old Daughter, Apple, Looks Like Her Twin in Rare Instagram Appearance," 28 Sep. 2019 For travelers, the Berlin Wall remains a pathway for exploration, even if the structure itself has ghosted away. National Geographic, "What's behind your wall?," 12 Nov. 2019 The Good Place’s kooky philosophical explorations have addressed touchy current topics before—refugees, artificial intelligence, ghosting. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Good Place Wonders How to Reform #MeToo’s Disgraced Men," 3 Oct. 2019 How Buddhism ghosted away from its Indian source, between seven and nine centuries ago, remains one of the great mysteries in the history of religion. Paul Salopek, The New Yorker, "Walking the Path of the Buddha in a Neglected Corner of India," 9 Aug. 2019 Green skittles lovers who are single are 50% more likely than other single Skittles eaters to have been ghosted by their dates. Morgan Raum,, "This Is the Worst Skittle Color, According to Thousands of Customers," 6 Nov. 2019 But our goal is to get those answers and provide closure for the person that was ghosted. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Rachel Lindsay Talks Hosting MTV's 'Ghosted' And How To Confront The Ghost In Your Own Dating Life," 24 Sep. 2019 The first episode dealt with Julia and Delmond, who ghosted Julia after feeling guilty for hooking up with Devin, her ex. Clarkisha Kent,, "MTV's Ghosted pushes exploitative reality TV boundaries — but is boring while doing it," 19 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ghost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ghost


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ghost

Noun and Verb

Middle English gost, gast, from Old English gāst; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

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Time Traveler for ghost

Time Traveler

The first known use of ghost was before the 12th century

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Statistics for ghost

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for ghost


How to pronounce ghost (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ghost

: the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people
: a very small amount or trace


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Kids Definition of ghost

: the spirit of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Medical Definition of ghost

: a structure (as a cell or tissue) that does not stain normally because of degenerative changes specifically : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin

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More from Merriam-Webster on ghost

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ghost

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ghost

Spanish Central: Translation of ghost

Nglish: Translation of ghost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ghost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ghost

Comments on ghost

What made you want to look up ghost? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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