spec·​tral | \ ˈspek-trəl How to pronounce spectral (audio) \

Definition of spectral

1 : of, relating to, or suggesting a specter : ghostly
2 : of, relating to, or made by a spectrum

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Other Words from spectral

spectrally \ ˈspek-​trə-​lē How to pronounce spectrally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of spectral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Lana Del Rey character has always had a spectral quality, like Marilyn Monroe coming back to sing about her own death. Judy Berman, Time, "Review: Norman F---ing Rockwell! Is Lana Del Rey's Darkest—And Greatest—Album Yet," 30 Aug. 2019 The rogue image flashed first like an apparition, a spectral splash across billboards, spreading from Allentown to Wilmington to Trenton. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "Mystery: Who Bought Those ‘Zeke Who?’ Billboards in Philadelphia?," 29 Aug. 2019 For all her logic, she is kept secret company by the ghost of her dead daughter, Evelyn, who overheated to death in the Arizona sun as a months-old babe but lives and grows in spectral form. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Téa Obreht follows up 'The Tiger's Wife' with 'Inland' a haunted, fantastical Western," 13 Aug. 2019 That would have obliterated the telltale spectral cutoff. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Galaxy hunters spot hidden giants in the early universe," 7 Aug. 2019 In 2017 a Swiss research lab, GRS GemResearch Swisslab AG, issued a report saying that pink sapphires from Tananarive can be identified through spectral analysis. Paul Tullis, National Geographic, "How the sapphire trade is driving lemurs toward extinction," 6 Mar. 2019 So for his eighth-grade science fair project, Jurić wanted to capture that spectral light. Quanta Magazine, "Prepping for a Flood of Heavenly Bodies," 24 Oct. 2018 But that spectral cameo has confused scholars for a long time. National Geographic, "Episode 6: Harem Conspiracy Papyrus," 16 July 2019 The original Jackson novel, and The Haunting film based on it, both end with one character’s death from what may have been suicide, or may have been a sort of spectral murder by the house itself. Aja Romano, Vox, "Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House is a slow-burn family nightmare," 12 Oct. 2018

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

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spectral

Last Updated

26 Sep 2019

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The first known use of spectral was in 1769

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English Language Learners Definition of spectral

literary : of, relating to, or suggesting a ghost
technical : of, relating to, or made by a spectrum


spec·​tral | \ ˈspek-trəl How to pronounce spectral (audio) \

Medical Definition of spectral

: of, relating to, or made by a spectrum

Other Words from spectral

spectrally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on spectral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spectral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spectral

Britannica English: Translation of spectral for Arabic Speakers

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