1 of 2


plural ghosts
: the seat of life or intelligence : soul
give up the ghost
: 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
: a faint shadowy trace
a ghost of a smile
: the least bit
not a ghost of a chance
: a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection
: one who ghostwrites
: a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin
ghostlike adjective
ghosty adjective


2 of 2


ghosted; ghosting; ghosts

transitive verb

: to haunt like a ghost
: ghostwrite
ghosted the mayor's autobiography
informal : to cut off all contact with (someone) abruptly and usually without explanation : 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

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Those ghosts sneak into the father–daughter relationship and try to destroy it. Holly Jones, Variety, 27 Nov. 2023 Adorable ghosts decorated the black-and-white tiered cake as kids played in a padded outdoor area with different drums and toys for all kinds of fun. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 25 Nov. 2023 Apart from a couple of truly atrocious scenes featuring a ghost Diana speaking wisdom to various royals, the show seems to have found a middle ground between adoration and exploration. Louis Staples, Rolling Stone, 18 Nov. 2023 But, much of that work is undone by the appearance of Diana’s ghost, she who made headlines last month after news leaked that the princess would be shown speaking to Charles and the queen after her passing. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2023 However the showrunners portray Diana’s final days, their dramatization is sure to generate controversy—and, in fact, already has, with reports that Diana’s ghost would appear to Charles (played by Dominic West) and Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) after her death proving most divisive. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Nov. 2023 In scenes that have already caused some chatter online and in the British tabloids, Dodi’s ghost returns to talk to his father after his death, while Diana’s ghost briefly appears in conversations with Charles and Queen Elizabeth. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 The fiction, narrated by Pepe’s ghost, explores unknowing souls. Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 14 Nov. 2023 Halfway through the video, the tables turn and Joanna is then chased by the ghost, who ends up tripping and falling, losing his pants. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2023
While exiting various hotels this past month on her tour, Madonna’s off-duty style has been all about dressing like a dude who would definitely ghost you. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 20 Nov. 2023 But Butler ghosted in from the side to swipe the ball and dribbled to the other end. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2023 The curved shape creates an immersive experience that puts you right in the middle of your game, while one-millisecond motion blur reduction works to reduce ghosting. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 17 Nov. 2023 The Man Behind 250 Masks Explore T Magazine A Disappearing Act: How did ghosting become the default ending to so much human interaction? Gisela Williams Elissa Suh Caitie Kelly Roxanne Fequiere Angela Koh Jinnie Lee, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Without a professional network to tap, Schwartz would spend hours applying through LinkedIn or Indeed, only to get ghosted, sometimes after multiple interview rounds. WIRED, 6 Nov. 2023 The number of posts on company review site Glassdoor where users claim employers ghosted them after an interview has more than doubled since early 2020. Matthew Heimer, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2023 After being ghosted by a former rugby league player, Tyra is genuinely looking for love in the Villa. Keryn Donnelly,, 24 Oct. 2023 In the name of progress, the city has long ghosted its inhabitants, architecturally speaking, removing parts of itself, taking up with richer, shinier partners, canceling cherished views. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ghost

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

Medical Definition


: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ghost

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