ap·​pa·​ri·​tion | \ ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən How to pronounce apparition (audio) \

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 \ ˌa-​pə-​ˈrish-​nəl How to pronounce apparition (audio) , -​ˈri-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for apparition


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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 Even the tiniest glimmer of hope feels like an apparition from the heavens. Alegría Adedeji, Harper's BAZAAR, "After a Bad Break Up, Tarot Dispelled My Anxiety," 17 Feb. 2021 There would be no attending mass, climbing the hill to pray at the apparition site, or watching groups of dancers from across Mexico perform pre-Hispanic dances in animal skin costumes. Nina Strochlic, History & Culture, "Mexico adapts its mega-pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary in a disrupted year," 22 Dec. 2020 In 1531, according to Catholic teaching, a peasant named Juan Diego was visited by an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Nina Strochlic, History & Culture, "Mexico adapts its mega-pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary in a disrupted year," 22 Dec. 2020 Brignac would later also teach children about a springtime celebration marking the Virgin Mary’s reported 1917 apparition in Portugal, and picking out the kids’ costumes for a centennial feast. David A. Hammer,, "Monster in Our Midst: A timeline of George Brignac's abuse in New Orleans-area churches," 16 Dec. 2020 The hillock also serves to beckon people from the distance, a head-scratching apparition that pulls you west. John King,, "Oakland’s new waterfront park is a startling remake of a derelict pier," 18 Nov. 2020 Not that the Catholic church thinks the apparition was a miracle. Matthew J. Palm,, "IceHouse ‘Miracle’ is a comic yet sensitive holiday gift | Review," 15 Nov. 2020 To be honest, the apparition looks more like Carrot Top after a particularly harsh bender. Washington Post, "Burger King’s latest dig at McDonald’s: Creepy clowns to haunt your dreams," 28 Oct. 2020 Overhead costs vanish like an apparition and allow that business to bring in new customers and sell more food. Mike Sutter,, "The new trends in San Antonio’s restaurant dining scene as its been impacted by coronavirus pandemic," 22 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for apparition

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

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Statistics for apparition

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apparition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for apparition



English Language Learners Definition of apparition

formal : a ghost or spirit of a dead person


ap·​pa·​ri·​tion | \ ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən How to pronounce apparition (audio) \

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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