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 apparitional (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 Others have reported lights turning themselves on and off, creeping carpets and apparitions dressed as train conductors (part of the hotel once housed a railroad ticket office). Allyson Reedy, The Know, "Are these Colorado restaurants haunted? That depends on who you ask.," 23 Aug. 2019 If Meza's Dog is a hellhound then Marcus' self-portrait is an apparition. Dallas News, "A Dallas art gallery examines identity in 'How It Looks To Be You In Egyptian Cotton'," 23 Aug. 2019 Ghostly apparitions appear at the pipe organ built by Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump for the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, which marks its 50th anniversary on Aug. 9, 2019. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Last ‘Haunted Mansion’ designer looks back on spooky Disney ride’s 50th anniversary," 9 Aug. 2019 Out of the mist, riders shot by like apparitions, silence cut by the sound of wet-suit tails fluttering and their boards pushing water, leaving a brief trail of wake, only to disappear again. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Athletic director resigns at scandal-plagued USC," 10 Sep. 2019 The governess starts to suspect the kids are being visited by ghostly apparitions. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "'The Haunting of Hill House' Season 2, 'The Haunting of Bly Manor': Everything We Know About the New Season," 23 Aug. 2019 The rogue image flashed first like an apparition, a spectral splash across billboards, spreading from Allentown to Wilmington to Trenton. Jacob Feldman,, "Mystery: Who Bought Those ‘Zeke Who?’ Billboards in Philadelphia?," 29 Aug. 2019 Executed on translucent silk that reveals the underlying structure of the stretcher bars, the painting itself feels like an apparition. Sharon Mizota,, "Art as a portal to Korean ancestors? The mesmerizing work of Hanna Hur," 1 July 2019 One is a terrific documentary about a glorious writer, returning to town; one, a true rarity, is a ghostly apparition from the year 1931, revealing a side of our city rarely seen on film. Michael Phillips,, "Need a couple of movies to tell you the truth? You’re in luck. They’re coming to Chicago.," 15 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for apparition

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for apparition

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

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More Definitions for apparition


How to pronounce apparition (audio)

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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Comments on apparition

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


to spread as a report or rumor

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