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

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 None of it was here four days ago, and as with any good apparition, none of it will be here tomorrow. David Hill, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Frequently rendered in painting with brown skin, her creation myth involves an apparition in 1531 to an Indigenous man named Juan Diego (original name: Cuauhtlatoatzin). Carolina A. Mirandacolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2022 Her bad behavior riles the real Lady Wadsworth (Greer) who appears as an apparition that only Hannah can see. Angela Dawson, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 That’s where another apparition — of a beatific woman, surrounded by hazy, white light — convinces Stu to become a priest. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 The history of this convent goest back to the early 1400s, when an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen to have shown up in a thorn bush. Ann Abel, Forbes, 27 May 2021 At every corner, Nazari imagined a Talib suddenly standing in her way like an evil apparition. George Packer, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2022 Speaking of crazy off-roading, Phillips also rang up his old friend Lithgow to reprise his role, albeit only as an apparition. Lynette Rice,, 9 Sep. 2021 Some people think the Captain Marvel-like apparition isn’t Captain Marvel. Chris Smith, BGR, 23 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near apparition

apparent wind



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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apparition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for apparition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on apparition

Nglish: Translation of apparition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apparition for Arabic Speakers


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