\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \
plural ghosts

Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the seat of life or intelligence : soul give up the ghost
2 : a disembodied soul especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness
3 : spirit, demon
4a : a faint shadowy trace a ghost of a smile
b : the least bit not a ghost of a chance
5 : a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection
6 : one who ghostwrites
7 : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin


ghosted; ghosting; ghosts

Definition of ghost (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to haunt like a ghost
2 : ghostwrite ghosted the mayor's autobiography
3 informal : to cut off all contact with (someone) abruptly and usually without explanation : to subject (someone, such as a former romantic partner) to ghosting — see ghosting sense 2 No one wants to be ghosted, mostly because it sucks to admit that the person you gushed about last week is now pretending you don't exist …— Ellen Scott

intransitive verb

1a : to move silently like a ghost
b : to sail quietly in light winds

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Other Words from ghost


ghostlike \ ˈgōst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ghost (audio) \ adjective
ghosty \ ˈgō-​stē How to pronounce ghost (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ghost in a Sentence

Noun a house haunted by ghosts looked for ghosts in the graveyard on Halloween Verb She ghosted the mayor's autobiography.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The ghost kitchen, a famously secretive company led by ex-Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, made headlines when neighbors tried to fight it. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Oct. 2021 Restaurateur Memphis Garrett will turn his fast-casual Poke House into a ghost kitchen and convert the space into a No Man’s Land, a cocktail parlor and lounge. Phillip Valys,, 29 Sep. 2021 Dairyland, which currently operates from a ghost kitchen in Oak Creek and a food truck at Zocalo Food Park in Walker’s Point, also will open at the new 3rd Street Market Hall downtown. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Sep. 2021 Hawaiian Bros first came to the area with a ghost kitchen in Garland in 2020 before opening brick-and-mortar locations in Denton, Alliance, Hurst and Hulen in summer 2021. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, 14 Sep. 2021 Other restaurants are interested in using the ghost kitchen to try out a new market. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 29 July 2021 This ghost kitchen operated by local chain Wildflower has a menu inspired by Asian cuisine. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, 27 July 2021 Mack and her business partners are finalizing plans to open a ghost kitchen in this historically Black area later this year. Chauncey Alcorn, CNN, 11 July 2021 As America’s first delivery-only kitchen, ClusterTruck isn’t actually a truck but rather a large ghost kitchen with a diverse menu. Blake Morgan, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If things aren’t working out, don’t ghost your therapist. Brittany Risher, SELF, 5 Oct. 2021 Sebald tells tales, that much one can say—ghost stories of a sort, as dark and translucent as smoky glass. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 5 Oct. 2021 The couple have rented the house out to ghost hunters; one-night stays at the home are currently booked through 2022. Helena Madden, Robb Report, 1 Oct. 2021 If Chloe tried to ghost like this, there'd be a militia of Shakespeare gays kicking down every door in False Beach. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 22 Sep. 2021 Those same friends in Naples and Vero Beach ghost me from June through October. Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, 5 July 2021 Instead of addressing the situation and laying down healthy rules, people would rather ghost or brand the other person as 'toxic'. Stina Sanders,, 21 July 2021 Regardless, his decision to ghost his superiors was inexplicable and unacceptable., 9 Aug. 2021 Aphantasiacs, whose inability to form mental imagery may be acquirable through stem-cell transplants, were found to be less susceptible to both the Ganzflicker pseudo-hallucination and to ghost stories. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ghost

Noun and Verb

Middle English gost, gast, from Old English gāst; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

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Learn More About ghost

Time Traveler for ghost

Time Traveler

The first known use of ghost was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ghost



ghost crab

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Statistics for ghost

Last Updated

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for ghost



English Language Learners Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people
: a very small amount or trace



English Language Learners Definition of ghost (Entry 2 of 2)


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Kids Definition of ghost

: the spirit of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people


\ ˈgōst How to pronounce ghost (audio) \

Medical Definition of ghost

: a structure (as a cell or tissue) that does not stain normally because of degenerative changes specifically : a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin

More from Merriam-Webster on ghost

Nglish: Translation of ghost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ghost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ghost


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