\ 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

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Other Words from ghost


ghostlike \ ˈgōst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ghost (audio) \ adjective
ghosty \ ˈgō-​stē How to pronounce ghost (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 Instead of racing to Nome, mushers will loop around mining ghost towns at Iditarod and Flat before returning to Deshka Landing. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore reflect on their mushing careers and discuss why they’re retiring after the 2021 Iditarod," 3 Mar. 2021 Such insights should also bode well as Dine Brands expands its footprint in both the virtual and ghost kitchen space. Alicia Kelso, Forbes, "As Dine-In Business Returns, Applebee’s And IHOP Remain Optimistic About Off-Premise Momentum," 3 Mar. 2021 While some of the Gudrid story handed down in the sagas might be apocryphal—like her husband’s ghost coming back for a chat—Brown and other scholars argue that portions of the narrative are based on actual events. Sarah Durn, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did a Viking Woman Named Gudrid Really Travel to North America in 1000 A.D.?," 3 Mar. 2021 Fieri opened Flavortown ghost kitchens in Farmington, Glastonbury, Newington, Avon and Darien in late February. Susan Dunne,, "Local chefs call Guy Fieri’s Flavortown ghost kitchen expansion a ‘cash grab’ that undermines Connecticut restaurants," 3 Mar. 2021 For legendary New Orleans jazz, the best restaurants in New Orleans, and every other must-try activity, including tours of the bayou and ghost tours of the city's most haunted streets, consult this guide. Maya Kachroo-levine, Travel + Leisure, "New Orleans Travel Guide," 1 Mar. 2021 In 2019, police nationwide confiscated about 10,000 ghost guns. Star Tribune, "Gun parts manufacturers have found a loophole," 1 Mar. 2021 At the end of the novel, the ghost who is given pride of place in the narrator’s heart, his mother, is reborn, slightly, beautifully. New York Times, "His Debut Novel Won the Pulitzer. Now It Has an Action-Packed Sequel.," 26 Feb. 2021 But never say never with this show; Hewson's Adele could always return as a ghost, haunting Rob-Louise's dreams. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "'Behind Her Eyes' Season 2: Everything We Know," 19 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Other chefs are committed to ghost kitchens for the long haul, such as Gavin Lambert, once a chef at Woods Hill Table in Concord, and his wife, Rachel Amiralian-Lambert. Kara Baskin,, "Aberration or apparition? Ghost kitchens could replace your favorite haunt," 26 Jan. 2021 This best-selling gift has 10 different bits of beef in all different flavors from classic to ghost pepper to whiskey maple. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "40 amazing Valentine's Day gifts men actually want," 20 Jan. 2021 Flavors range from Reposado (which means rested) to ghost pepper. Nicole Hvidsten, Star Tribune, "Essential Minnesota gift guide: 61 perfect picks while we're all home for the holidays," 27 Nov. 2020 Call them ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens or dark kitchens — basically any kitchen that’s already in motion can be leveraged to power more than one food business. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "'Ghost kitchens' and 'virtual food halls' might be the next frontier in Twin Cities dining," 7 Oct. 2020 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

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

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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

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