spec·​ter | \ ˈspek-tər How to pronounce specter (audio) \
variants: or spectre

Definition of specter

1 : a visible disembodied spirit : ghost
2 : something that haunts or perturbs the mind : phantasm the specter of hunger

Examples of specter in a Sentence

feeling so terrified that every shadow became a specter
Recent Examples on the Web His statement raises the specter of the violence between his supporters and the winner’s, which has marred past elections. Rael Ombuor, Washington Post, 16 Aug. 2022 John Lennon claimed to see a weeping woman; when he was murdered in front of the Dakota in 1980, Lennon’s own specter was added to the list. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, 28 June 2022 By the time of the Spice Girls voyage, though, the specter of the demon twink had mostly been exorcised from the festivities. New York Times, 23 June 2022 Ironically, the specter of inflation was often cited as a reason for these decisions even though there was little risk. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 23 June 2022 The specter of the Fed being forced to continue raising interest rates to control inflation even if the economy begins to slow significantly is not a pleasant thought for the future earnings outlook and thus stock prices. Bill Stone, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 While Netanyahu, who will turn 72 in October, has not yet succeeded in gaining traction as opposition leader, the specter of his political return is credited with bolstering Bennett. Noga Tarnopolsky, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2021 What’s implicit in this recognition is the idea that the specter of global economic violence must be met with a corresponding mobilization of the workers of the world to defeat it. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2021 In the meantime, Mr. Schechter writes, the specter of Kehoe was appropriated by various factions to promote their own agendas. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'specter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of specter

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for specter

French spectre, from Latin spectrum appearance, specter, from specere to look, look at — more at spy

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Time Traveler for specter

Time Traveler

The first known use of specter was in 1605

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Dictionary Entries Near specter



specter bat

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Statistics for specter

Last Updated

30 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Specter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specter. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for specter


variants: or spectre \ ˈspek-​tər \

Kids Definition of specter

1 : ghost
2 : something that haunts or bothers the mind the specter of starvation

More from Merriam-Webster on specter

Nglish: Translation of specter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specter for Arabic Speakers


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