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 spacecraft will also use spectral analysis of visible and infrared light to determine the overall composition of Bennu, and measure orbital deviations caused by non-gravitational forces. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's Asteroid Sample-Return Mission Set to Launch Next Month," 18 Aug. 2016 With volcano imagery, for example, Chien said, JPL had trained the machine-learning software to recognize volcanic eruptions from spectral and image data. Alyson Behr, Ars Technica, "NASA’s next Mars rover will use AI to be a better science partner," 6 Dec. 2018 Over the next six weeks, Kate’s a light, almost spectral presence in the apartment. Fernanda Eberstadt, Vogue, "Wild, Free, and Utterly Lost—Writer Fernanda Eberstadt on the Panic and Pitfalls of Post-Collegiate Life," 30 July 2018 Pablo’s presence in Picasso’s life had been spectral, at best. Marley Marius, Vogue, "On the Heels of an $88 Million Picasso Sale, Olivier Widmaier Picasso Talks Art, Life, and His Very Famous Grandfather," 12 Nov. 2018 According to an obituary shared by the program, the show became syndicated across the country in 1993 and drew in listeners with its wee-hours chatter about conspiracy theories and aliens, shadow people and spectral energy. Sasha Savitsky, Fox News, "'Coast to Coast AM' host Art Bell's cause of death revealed," 3 Aug. 2018 To identify galaxies that have a small AGN, the team looked for spectral peaks that were sharp at the top but smeared out around the base. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Discovery of middleweight black holes could explain origin of million-solar-mass monster," 30 May 2018 Basquiat’s presence in the film is more spectral as a result. New York Times, "Review: ‘Boom for Real’ Is a Beguiling Look at a Teenage Basquiat," 30 Apr. 2018 Later, the performers elicited daubs of tone from conventional instruments, as if translating those found objects into spectral music. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 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

28 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for spectral

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

Britannica English: Translation of spectral for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spectral

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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