\ 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Aubameyang never gave up the ghost and had the last say in the encounter., "Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Spurs Blow Two-Goal Lead in the Derby," 1 Sep. 2019 Armed with a vacuum cleaner, a flashlight, and a gooey clone that’s semi-impervious to damage, Luigi must overcome his fear and fight off the ghosts to save his friends and family. Matthew Gault, Time, "The 10 Video Games We Can't Wait to Play This Fall," 26 Aug. 2019 What’s more, there will always be times when the visions run dry and even the imagination gives up the ghost. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Haunted Street Children of “Tigers Are Not Afraid”," 23 Aug. 2019 Plant’s pollinator secrets revealed For exotic beauty, few flowers rival the ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii). National Geographic, "Our three favorite scientific breakthroughs this month," 22 July 2019 Eleven months later, Georgia’s defense then gave up the ghost to Hurts in the fourth quarter of the SEC championship game. Joseph Goodman |,, "Georgia the smart pick to win championship if Kirby Smart can overcome ghosts," 16 July 2019 Learn about the ghosts at the Whaley House on San Diego Avenue. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Old Town: From the presidio to the par 3, mark where California began," 30 June 2019 If the clock strikes midnight, the ghosts get more powerful and start killing off the hunters. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Watch the biggest reveals from E3 2019's PC Gaming Show," 10 June 2019 The alleged ghost can be seen behind accessories dangling from the rearview mirror. Meagan Fredette, Teen Vogue, "An Ohio Teen Says He Took a Photo of a Ghost Boy in His Truck," 10 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some who did respond quickly ghosted, even with the guarantee of anonymity. Jason Parham, WIRED, "When Influencers Switch Platforms—and Bare It All," 19 Aug. 2019 Lee began tinkering with a program to measure romantic interest after watching a clueless friend get ghosted after a date. Wired, "Flirty or Friendzone? New AI Scans Your Texts for True Love," 16 Sep. 2019 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

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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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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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

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