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 So eerie and unexplained were the occurrences that the bottling crew didn’t want to work in the morning when the apparition was most active. Lana Bortolot, Forbes, 30 Oct. 2021 According to legend, the apparition was a resident during the days when the building was used as a boardinghouse (and possibly a brothel). Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 27 Oct. 2021 An apparition of central bankers is the dread inflation psychology, but inflation expectations don’t become embedded in consumer heads because of childhood trauma, but because consumers detect a mindset of policy makers to accommodate inflation. WSJ, 22 Oct. 2021 Hosted by Maria Council #4836 of the Knights of Columbus, the event brings Catholics together to pray the rosary and commemorate the anniversary of the final apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Jennifer Johnson,, 5 Oct. 2021 One such host of the apparition was a homeless man named Sherman Fields, beaten to death by local police officers who falsely accused him of a crime. Ineye Komonibo,, 1 Sep. 2021 In the care of his traditionally minded father, Bashir (Alyy Khan), he is haunted by an apparition referred to as Toba Tek Singh, taken from a satirical tale about the separation between India and Pakistan. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 3 Sep. 2021 The apparition of these faces in a crowd: Petals on a wet, black bough. New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021 Stories of a blonde, female ghost have lingered over the years, long enough that employees gave the apparition a name: Emily. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Aug. 2021

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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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

14 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apparition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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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 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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