ap·​pa·​ri·​tion ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən How to pronounce apparition (audio)
: an unusual or unexpected sight : phenomenon
strange apparitions in the sky
: a ghostly figure
reported seeing ghostly apparitions in the old house
: the act of becoming visible : appearance
the apparition of sunlight through the window
apparitional 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 Among the many apparitions that have been reported here, the most popular include a Dutch woman, various headless spirits, and a kuntilanak (a female vampiric ghost known throughout Malaysian and Indonesian mythology). Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 13 Aug. 2023 When darkness comes, the apparitions will be illuminated by shifting shadows, a scene guaranteed to frighten and chill. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Aug. 2023 Hikers and kayakers share the spectacular terrain with fanciful creatures derived from Bosch, but the Flemish-style apparitions appear no more menacing than the colorful blooms that dot many of the canvases. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2023 The latest: Church tour: Biden on Friday toured the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, where an apparition of the Virgin Mary, Joseph, John the Evangelist and angels is said to have appeared in 1879. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2023 Its age and history lead some to believe the building is haunted, but regardless of whether the drinking buddies there are apparitions or other Houstonians, La Carafe offers a one-of-a-kind lens into the city's past. Lauren McDowell, Chron, 12 Apr. 2023 But all that history left room for apparitions to settle in. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 11 Aug. 2023 According to Commercial Truck Trader, some drivers say their apparitions can still be seen by the side of the road, holding hands and praying while dressed in their traditional habits. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 17 Aug. 2023 Stark white and sprawled on a bluff, the Queen-Anne-style pile seemed like an apparition from a bygone era—a universe away from the drab prairie-hugging bungalows of my Chicago suburb. Nina Molina, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apparition.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near apparition

Cite this Entry

“Apparition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​pa·​ri·​tion ˌap-ə-ˈrish-ən How to pronounce apparition (audio)
: an unusual or unexpected sight
: ghost

More from Merriam-Webster on apparition

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