Definition of wraith
wraithsplay play \ˈrāths also ˈrāthz\
wraithlikeplay \ˈrāth-ˌlīk\ adjective
wraith was our Word of the Day on 03/29/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of wraith in a Sentence
the people who once lived here believed that their world was populated by wraiths and witches
Did You Know?
If you see your own double, you're in trouble, at least if you believe old superstitions. The belief that a ghostly twin's appearance portends death is one common to many cultures. In German folklore, such an apparition was called a "Doppelgänger" (literally, "double goers"); in Scottish lore, they were "wraiths." The exact origin of the word wraith is misty, however. Etymologists can only trace it back to its first use in an English text in a 1513 translation of Virgil’s "Aeneid" by Gavin Douglas (the Scotsman used "wraith" to name apparitions of both the dead and the living). In current English, "wraith" has taken on additional, less spooky, meanings as well; it now often suggests a shadowy - but not necessarily scary - lack of substance.
Origin and Etymology of wraith
First Known Use: 1513
WRAITH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of wraith for English Language Learners
: the spirit of a dead person
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up wraith? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).