ghost

noun
\ ˈgōst \

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

ghost

verb
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 abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc. 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

Noun

ghostlike \ˈgōst-ˌlīk \ adjective
ghosty \ˈgō-stē \ adjective

Synonyms for ghost

Synonyms: Noun

demon (or daemon), devil, fiend, ghoul, imp

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One path chased after ghosts — people without current addresses, often listed at homes now vacant. Joe Robertson, kansascity, "Kansas City's gun theft 'victims' are arming criminals — and getting away with it," 1 July 2018 In addition to food and beer, the event will offer music, vendors, trick-or-treating, ghost tours and a children’s area, the organizer said. David Ibata, ajc, "Canton OKs ‘Brews and Boos’ street closures," 29 June 2018 To walk hand in hand toward the humid dark, enter the ghost web of the hungry, to consider some wants were not meant to be understood. Safiya Sinclair, The New Yorker, "Gospel of the Misunderstood," 21 June 2018 Not quite walking, not quite driving, these Segway tours of downtown San Antonio include a 90-minute overview, a 2-hour focus on historical landmarks, and even a late-evening ghost tour. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "Take a walk or other vehicular tour of San Antonio," 4 June 2018 Early coverage has appeared in the same types of media outlets that cover ghost and alien abductions. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Mysterious hairy 'globster' washes up on a beach. It's being called an omen of doom. | Charlotte Observer," 13 May 2018 Characters walk casually past ghosts only the audience can see. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "It’s Hard to Watch Sharp Objects, and Even Harder to Look Away," 28 June 2018 Portraits of sad-eyed people who might have been patrons at the Snug Harbor, the bar Mr. Ostrom ran in Astoria, Ore. Haunting images of ghost ships sailing off into the Pacific, laced in shadow and gloom. Kirk Johnson, New York Times, "He Couldn’t Refuse a Deathbed Plea. Now He’s Got 10,000 Pieces of Art.," 24 June 2018 Legend says the Bannockburn, sometimes nicknamed the Flying Dutchman of the Great Lakes, lives on as a ghost ship that has been spotted many times since its disappearance still prowling the water. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "8 undiscovered shipwrecks of the Great Lakes," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For example, the ex who was the jilted partner might be afraid the other person is going to leave again—and abandonment is even more common in the digital age, where people ghost frequently. Jenna Birch, Health.com, "You've Already Broken Up Once—Here’s How to Know if the Relationship Can Really Work," 10 July 2018 These rumors were followed by reports that Drake broke up with Bella by ghosting her. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bella Hadid Just Responded to Those Drake Dating Rumors," 30 June 2018 Guys ask me why a woman ghosted them, and women ask me if their boyfriend is secretly gay. Dan Savage, Chicago Reader, "Can a straight guy ethically accept oral sex from his gay buddy?," 20 June 2018 According to Roth, job seekers see it as retribution for all the times potential employers ghosted them. CBS News, "The job market is apparently so hot people are ghosting potential employers," 11 July 2018 Christian Eriksen's stunning early goal set the wheels in motion, the midfielder ghosting in to fire past David de Gea after just 11 seconds, scoring the third fastest goal in Premier League history in the process. SI.com, "Tottenham Scores 11 Seconds in, Eases By Manchester United at Wembley," 31 Jan. 2018 Does Vinaite’s real-life ghosting method sound mean? Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The Florida Project’s Bria Vinaite Explains the Art of Ghosting IRL," 7 Jan. 2018 Speaking of hotkeys and lighting, the anti-ghosting membrane keyboard is RGB backlit with four lighting zones supporting up to 16.8 million colors. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "The Acer Predator Helios 500 is a gaming laptop that's overclockable in all the right places," 25 May 2018 Though that’s surely no consolation to the ghosted. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Toxins found in sick Philly schools, Garces files for bankruptcy | Morning Newsletter," 3 May 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ghost

Noun

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

Verb

see ghost entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ghost

ghost

noun

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

ghost

noun
\ ˈgōst \

Kids Definition of ghost

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

ghost

noun
\ ˈgōst \

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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