specter

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of specter in a Sentence

feeling so terrified that every shadow became a specter

Recent Examples on the Web

The specter of Prince Albert's death has hovered over Victoria from the very beginning. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How Did Queen Victoria's Husband Prince Albert Die?," 4 Mar. 2019 Heughan sat down with BAZAAR.com for a quick recap of Season 4's conflicts and resolutions, and what to expect as the specter of the American Revolution draws closer. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sam Heughan on What the Outlander Finale Means for Season 5: "It's Going to Be Tough"," 28 Jan. 2019 This group must navigate their day-to-day knowing that a specter from their past will always be there in some shape or form, even after their proverbial debt to society has been paid. Dennis Eckhoff, Vox, "After my felony conviction, I didn’t know if I could vote. It took me 12 years to find out.," 29 Oct. 2018 President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday night will head into their historic summit balancing the elusive promise of peace against the specter of a growing nuclear threat. BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s a look at Trump’s full meeting schedule with Kim Jong Un," 11 June 2018 This car can do zero to 186 mph in 24 seconds, so flattening the accelerator is an exercise in willpower, a game of chicken against the oncoming specter of bad consequences. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "I Took a Road Trip in a Supercar," 2 Feb. 2016 Based on Sarai Walker’s book of the same name, Dietland succeeds most when examining—and granting license to—the twin specters of female resentment and fury. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Dietland Envisions a World of Female Revenge," 5 June 2018 The movie feints in the direction of confronting horrific geopolitical realities, but there’s a specter of sentimentality hovering above the proceedings, waiting to smother everything in sight. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Submergence,’ a Love Story Sunk by Geopolitics," 12 Apr. 2018 If your worldview suggests the world is dangerous, the specter of terrorism will, of course, be especially concerning. Ezra Klein, Vox, "A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently," 18 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about specter

Statistics for specter

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for specter

The first known use of specter was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for specter

specter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of specter

literary : a ghost or spirit of a dead person

specter

noun
spec·​ter
variants: or spectre \ ˈspek-​tər \

Kids Definition of specter

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on specter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with specter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for specter

Spanish Central: Translation of specter

Nglish: Translation of specter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of specter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on specter

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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