\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the seat of life or intelligence : soul give up the ghost
2 : a disembodied soul especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness
3 : spirit, demon
4a : a faint shadowy trace a ghost of a smile
b : the least bit not a ghost of a chance
5 : a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection
6 : one who ghostwrites
7 : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin


ghosted; ghosting; ghosts

Definition of ghost (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to haunt like a ghost
2 : ghostwrite ghosted the mayor's autobiography
3 informal : to cut off all contact with (someone) : to subject (someone, such as a former romantic partner) to ghosting — see ghosting sense 2 No one wants to be ghosted, mostly because it sucks to admit that the person you gushed about last week is now pretending you don't exist …— Ellen Scott

intransitive verb

1a : to move silently like a ghost
b : to sail quietly in light winds

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ghost


ghostlike \ ˈgōst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ghostlike (audio) \ adjective
ghosty \ ˈgō-​stē How to pronounce ghosty (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ghost in a Sentence


a house haunted by ghosts looked for ghosts in the graveyard on Halloween


She ghosted the mayor's autobiography.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This ever faithful barking ghost may leap to lick your phantom hand. John Kelly, Washington Post, "More than 50,000 animals are buried in this cemetery," 5 Sep. 2019 The currency then slid again last week after an old ghost reappeared: a default on Argentina’s foreign debt, which has happened eight times since independence in 1816. The Economist, "Argentina’s beleaguered government imposes capital controls," 2 Sep. 2019 Does that mean no Crain family, no Bent-Neck Lady, no hidden ghosts? 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 In the Danny Phantom series, a lab accident turns Danny Fenton into a ghost-hunting superhero named Danny Phantom. Essence, "Six Things To Know About '13 Reasons Why' Star Alisha Boe," 23 Aug. 2019 Scientists have learned more about the subatomic particles known as neutrinos, sometimes called ghost particles. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Ghost Particles Could Explain Just About Everything in the Universe," 23 Aug. 2019 There are mysterious sets of ghost hands that may be harassing this angel. Dallas News, "A Dallas art gallery examines identity in 'How It Looks To Be You In Egyptian Cotton'," 23 Aug. 2019 Snap’s cartoon ghost logo had officially arrived at the beach. Daniel Hernandez, New York Times, "Snapchat’s Disappearing Act Leaves Venice Beach Searching for Its Future," 23 Aug. 2019 When the authorities finally hauled it to the surface and towed it to Port Townsend, Washington, in June 2013, the Western Flyer looked like a ghost ship. Smithsonian, "John Steinbeck’s Epic Ocean Voyage Rewrote the Rules of Ecology," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After 47 years of friendship, my friend ghosted me. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Flashbacks from earlier sexual assault haunt nursing assistant in her new job," 5 Sep. 2019 After 47 years of friendship, my friend ghosted me. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: New job triggers memories of violent sexual assault," 5 Sep. 2019 The bad Some inverse ghosting noticeable at highest overdrive setting with lower refresh rates. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Finding the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2019," 23 Aug. 2019 But the risk is worth it, especially if the alternative is ghosting. Alexandra Ossola, Quartzy, "Use this perfect breakup text to cure the terrible ghosting trend," 8 Aug. 2019 No one was getting ghosted on Bumble at 49 with absolutely no explanation. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, "'Is 55 Too Old to Go on Tinder?' What Dating Looks Like for the Middle-Aged," 6 Aug. 2019 At this point, ghosting — or ending a relationship by simply disappearing — is old news. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Caspering Is a New Dating Trend That's Actually Worse Than Ghosting," 17 July 2019 Kaka was half the player at the Bernabeu and ghosted through many games., "6 Footballers Who Had Their Reputations Ruined by One Bad Career Move," 22 June 2019 However, don't be surprised if someone ghosts a meeting or disappears from sight. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for June 21, 2019: Leo, summer sunshine sheds light on a mystery; Pisces, think long-term and permanent," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ghost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ghost


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ghost

Noun and Verb

Middle English gost, gast, from Old English gāst; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ghost



English Language Learners Definition of ghost

: the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people
: a very small amount or trace


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Kids Definition of ghost

: the spirit of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Medical Definition of ghost

: a structure (as a cell or tissue) that does not stain normally because of degenerative changes specifically : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ghost

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ghost

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ghost

Spanish Central: Translation of ghost

Nglish: Translation of ghost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ghost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ghost

Comments on ghost

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


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!