ap·​pa·​ri·​tion | \ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən \

Definition of apparition 

1a : an unusual or unexpected sight : phenomenon strange apparitions in the sky

b : a ghostly figure reported seeing ghostly apparitions in the old house

2 : the act of becoming visible : appearance the apparition of sunlight through the window

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Other Words from apparition

apparitional \ -​ˈrish-​nəl , -​ˈri-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of apparition in a Sentence

an eccentric who claimed to have photographed an apparition in her very own house

Recent Examples on the Web

So with the assistance of Ms. Krakowska and the Cricoteka in Krakow, Poland, where Kantor’s archives are stored, the Wooster Group is conducting a séance of sorts, hoping to raise a flickering apparition of what was. New York Times, "Review: Conjuring the Ghosts of Theater Past in ‘A Pink Chair’," 10 May 2018 Shane also appeared in Season 3 as a ghostly apparition haunting Rick. Joe Otterson,, "Jon Bernthal to appear in 'Walking Dead' Season 9," 18 June 2018 By this point the book’s greatest tension comes from wondering whether either Joona or Saga is any match for this near-supernatural monster, who can implant thoughts in his victims’ heads or turn up as an apparition just staring into their windows. Janet Maslin, New York Times, "A Monster in the Mold of Hannibal Lecter Haunts ‘The Sandman’," 4 Mar. 2018 Some posit that the silent apparition with the Gibson Girl hair is the spirit of the 55 horses that perished on that terrible day. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 Pope Francis has asked his envoy to a Bosnian shrine to stay on the job indefinitely to provide pastoral support to the millions of Catholics drawn there by reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Fox News, "Pope extends, expands mission of envoy to Medjugorje shrine," 1 June 2018 In season 2, Hannah appears in the form of a sort of apparition, who speaks only to Clay, as well as in flashbacks that further the other characters's narratives. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Katherine Langford Says "13 Reasons Why" Season 2 "Could Have Been Hannah's Last Chapter"," 25 May 2018 Five years later, the apparition appeared and continued to come back monthly to share messages through Lopez. Meryl Kornfield,, "Woman who said she was visited monthly by the Virgin Mary dies," 12 June 2018 Aster does just fine with the compulsory horror elements: the eerie apparitions, paranormal threats, and things that go bump in the night (and day). Noel Murray, The Verge, "Netflix’s Before I Wake is the perfect film to stream after seeing Hereditary," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparition.' 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 apparition

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for apparition

Middle English apparicion, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French appariciun "appearance," borrowed from Medieval Latin appāritiōn-, appāritiō "appearance, supernatural manifestation, Epiphany," going back to Late Latin, "appearance" (Latin, "service, attendance"), from Latin appāri-, variant stem of appārēre "to be visible, be evident, attend, serve" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at appear

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

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The first known use of apparition was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for apparition



English Language Learners Definition of apparition

: a ghost or spirit of a dead person


ap·​pa·​ri·​tion | \ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən \

Kids Definition of apparition

1 : ghost

2 : an unusual or unexpected sight What it was, whether bear or man … the terror of this new apparition brought me to a stand.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

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


playful or foolish behavior

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