\ 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
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

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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

Noun a house haunted by ghosts looked for ghosts in the graveyard on Halloween Verb She ghosted the mayor's autobiography.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The second ghost is a young woman in a white dress with blonde, curly hair who likes to hang out in my office. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "These bakeries bring a bit of sweetness to Louisville's dining scene amid COVID-19 turmoil," 22 Sep. 2020 Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service in Ivan Reitman’s sci-fi comedy classic, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Bill Murray’s 10 best movies ranked," 21 Sep. 2020 There have been ghost kitchen sightings all over town. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "How drive-throughs (and Texas Twinkies) saved a family barbecue joint," 21 Sep. 2020 Those who have the courage can create their own groups and meet Sherry Spenzer (local author, historian and chief ghost-and-goblin tour director) at the mysterious cemetery located at 32808 Lake Road in Avon Lake. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Six Feet Apart and Six Feet Under in Avon Lake during October," 21 Sep. 2020 Earlier this year my ten-year-old desktop computer gave up the ghost. Joseph Epstein, National Review, "Swamped by Technology," 17 Sep. 2020 Their journey also features a comedic ghost named Betelgeuse. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "17 of the Best Classic Movies to Watch This Halloween," 16 Sep. 2020 Robert Englund starred in eight movies as Freddy Krueger, the ghost of a serial killer who slays his victims with his clawed glove in their dreams, causing their real-life deaths. Charles Infosino, The Enquirer, "Freddy Krueger is no stranger to Cincinnati. The horror: He's never had the chili," 15 Sep. 2020 Ghost tours are $25, while tickets to the ghost hunts are $150. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's Riverside Theater can't host concerts, so it's offering ghost hunts and tours in October," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dyson’s shift to ghost kitchens fits the dining climate in the Bay Area. Justin Phillips,, "Oakland staple Souley Vegan is doing a big expansion across California — in ghost kitchens," 7 Aug. 2020 The 26-year-old has been wildly inconsistent since rejoining United for a jaw-dropping £89m in 2016, managing to thrill and excite one week before ghosting through an entire match the next., "Paul Pogba Tops List of Targets for Juventus Coach Maurizio Sarri as Man Utd Exit Edges Closer," 17 June 2019 But of late, the self that has been ghosting the glass in front of me is not a man with pecs and purpose, nor even a man with, say, a bit of hair and decent knees. Christian Wiman, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Gyms," 18 Mar. 2020 Over the past couple weeks, regulars have canceled, one even ghosted on a dinner date and serious inquiries have all dried up. Ryan Kost,, "‘You can hear birds’: Bay Area grows quiet as the coronavirus spreads," 12 Mar. 2020 Which is why clean mascaras have a bad reputation of ghosting before the day is done. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Saie is the Clean Makeup Brand You're About to See Everywhere," 7 Nov. 2019 Whereas texting or Instagram DMing proceeds as a kind of ambient chatter with no clear start or stop point—allowing all sorts of innovative new forms of passive-aggression, chief among them ghosting—a phone call is simple. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "Only Telephones Are Good," 4 Feb. 2020 Jorginho isn't the fastest across the turf and Mateo Kovacic ghosted through matches last season., "Ranking All 20 Premier League Midfields From Worst to Best," 18 Oct. 2019 In the 160 miles between the towns of Eagle and Circle, a half-dozen gold-mining settlements — most of them ghosted out — were on the south bank of the Yukon River. Anchorage Daily News, "How a fault that stretches from the Yukon to Interior Alaska slides Canadian gold into the state," 7 Mar. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for ghost

Time Traveler

The first known use of ghost was before the 12th century

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Statistics for ghost

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for ghost


How to pronounce ghost (audio)

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

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