ghost·​ly | \ ˈgōst-lē How to pronounce ghostly (audio) \
ghostlier; ghostliest

Definition of ghostly

1 : of or relating to the soul : spiritual
2 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a ghost : spectral

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Other Words from ghostly

ghostliness noun
ghostly adverb

Examples of ghostly in a Sentence

A ghostly figure appears in the house at night.

Recent Examples on the Web

Nearby Windsor Castle has had multiple ghostly sightings, too. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Spooky History of Frogmore Cottage, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s New Home," 8 Mar. 2019 But there's also an intensely melancholy story buried under the surface, told through ghostly apparitions and scraps of information left behind by the long departed. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Every few seconds, a ghostly pulse briefly shows a more detailed view, with the outline of trees, lamp posts, and other nearby objects becoming visible. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo One, the groundbreaking self-driving taxi service, explained," 5 Dec. 2018 Earlier, Sophie/Sharon had been a ghostly presence, more idea than woman. Sharon Mesmer, The Cut, "That Time My Ex Made Me the Villain in His Novel," 27 Mar. 2018 As Refinery29 reports, two ghostly new features have been added to the app just in time for October 31. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Unveils New Halloween Features," 27 Oct. 2018 While the surface of the asteroid appears to be a ghostly gray in the images released by the DLR, its actual color is quite dark. Megan Gannon,, "'Crazy' Rocky Surface of Asteroid Ryugu Revealed in MASCOT Lander Images," 13 Oct. 2018 In the lead up to Halloween, food brands are racing to capture the ghostly spirit of the holiday in edible form. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Halloween is an aesthetic, not a flavor.," 29 Oct. 2018 In his memoir, the 19th-century French photographer Félix Nadar wrote that writer Honoré de Balzac believed physical bodies were made of layers of ghostly images that were laid atop one another like thin skins. John Kelly, Washington Post, "An unnerving Father’s Day gift has left me pondering portraiture — and the soul," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ghostly.' 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 ghostly

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

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Statistics for ghostly

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for ghostly

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

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More Definitions for ghostly



English Language Learners Definition of ghostly

: of or relating to a ghost : suggesting a ghost


ghost·​ly | \ ˈgōst-lē How to pronounce ghostly (audio) \
ghostlier; ghostliest

Kids Definition of ghostly

: of, relating to, or like a ghost … there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him …— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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More from Merriam-Webster on ghostly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ghostly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ghostly

Spanish Central: Translation of ghostly

Comments on ghostly

What made you want to look up ghostly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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