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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Reading about the heroic efforts of relief workers amid the ghostly avenues feels eerily familiar. Erin Overbey, The New Yorker, "New Yorker Classics That Resonated in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Even diligent hosts can be prone to pesky water rings popping up days after, the moisture already lifting the wood stain to leave ghostly water stains. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Remove Water Stains from Wood," 28 Dec. 2020 There is a Scrooge archetype: ruthless (but very well dressed) capitalist Estella (Betsy Wolfe), who like her namesake sees only the bottom line and is destined for ghostly reclamation. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arts & Culture Newsletter: ‘A Berkley Hart Christmas’ is the holiday special we need right now," 24 Dec. 2020 But even a small hike in the water temperature triggers corals to dispel the algae, causing them to bleach and turn a ghostly shade of white. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Some Corals Can Survive Through Relentless Heat Waves, Surprising Scientists," 11 Dec. 2020 Which has led to a certain genre of Washington political story, built upon a chorus of ghostly voices. Washington Post, "Republicans have ‘concerns’ about Trump — but won’t let reporters quote them by name about it," 9 Dec. 2020 Among them, labelled by Anna as WTF?, was a picture of a ghostly circle of radio emission, hanging out in space like a cosmic smoke-ring. Popular Science, "These ghostly circles in the sky came out of nowhere," 4 Dec. 2020 His prehistory of Ireland itself arises from a ghostly fault-line viewed from Errisbeg Hill, and the telltale emergence of crystalline rocks. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 New to the arts center this year, Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly encounters come to life in this lavish and thrilling musical adaptation of the Dickens classic. Judy Morley,, "Coming Attractions: Jazz, films and holiday traditions return to the Carroll Arts Center," 7 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of ghostly

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ghostly

Time Traveler for ghostly

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ghostly

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ghostly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ghostly


How to pronounce ghostly (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ghostly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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