dop·​pel·​gäng·​er | \ ˈdä-pəl-ˌgaŋ-ər How to pronounce doppelgänger (audio) , -ˌgeŋ-, ˌdä-pəl-ˈgaŋ-, -ˈgeŋ- \
variants: or doppelganger

Definition of doppelgänger

1a : double sense 2a said she had seen his doppelgänger
c : a person who has the same name as another
2 : a ghostly counterpart (see counterpart sense 3a) of a living person

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According to age-old German folklore, all living creatures have a spirit double who is invisible but identical to the living individual. These second selves are perceived as being distinct from ghosts (which appear only after death), and sometimes they are described as the spiritual opposite or negative of their human counterparts. In 1796, German writer Johann Paul Richter, who wrote under the pseudonym Jean Paul, coined the word Doppelgänger (from doppel-, meaning "double," and -gänger, meaning "goer") to refer to such specters.

Examples of doppelgänger in a Sentence

In the story, the character is haunted by a doppelgänger. at the mall today I saw someone who could be your doppelgänger
Recent Examples on the Web Left to her own devices, Nelly heads into the woods only to discover Marion, her doppelganger, who inexplicably may also be her mother. Thomas Page, CNN, 19 Sep. 2021 Like most coffee houses, Austin’s offers a doppelganger for this popular frozen beverage — the Yak — which is the foundation for all their drinks of this nature. Amy Drew Thompson,, 14 Sep. 2021 Jordan spent the last two seasons with the Nets, the Lakers’ East Coast doppelganger. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 Not only do these tenders taste delicious, but the texture almost perfectly mimics chicken’s fibrous muscle, the obstacle that has held back doppelganger-level vegan chicken for years. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 11 July 2021 Small SUVs, like the appealing GLB that shares the A35 architecture, are probably safe, at least until there’s an EV doppelganger to replace them. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 1 Apr. 2021 Well, before being kidnapped and replaced by an evil doppelganger from a parallel universe, that is. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 13 Mar. 2021 The doppelganger for a guitar player in ELO plopped into a CrossFit class brings energy, along with results. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Sep. 2020 No, that would be her SNL doppelganger, who returned to her old stomping grounds (two years after leaving the show) at the request of the Internet, basically. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doppelgänger.' 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 doppelgänger

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for doppelgänger

German Doppelgänger, from doppel- double + -gänger goer

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Time Traveler for doppelgänger

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The first known use of doppelgänger was in 1851

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Last Updated

28 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Doppelgänger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for doppelgänger



English Language Learners Definition of doppelgänger

: someone who looks like someone else
: a ghost that looks like a living person


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