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plural ghosts
: the seat of life or intelligence : soul
give up the ghost
: 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
: a faint shadowy trace
a ghost of a smile
: the least bit
not a ghost of a chance
: a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection
: one who ghostwrites
: a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin
ghostlike adjective
ghosty adjective


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ghosted; ghosting; ghosts

transitive verb

: to haunt like a ghost
: ghostwrite
ghosted the mayor's autobiography
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

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
For a more elevated twist on a pumpkin medley, this cute velvet harvest pumpkin wreath is an elegant way to welcome in the fall season—minus the ghouls and ghosts. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 15 Sep. 2023 Shoppers can scoop up plush spiders, pumpkin and ghost inflatables, scary candles, and seasonal wreaths that are sure to set the scene. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 There are also ghost and jack-o’-lantern motifs available, too. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 12 Sep. 2023 While Samara’s ghost stretches her limbs for a crawl out of the TV set, moviegoers will be offered a full bar and concessions, a free photo booth and a DJ set. Oct. 21 — ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 6 Sep. 2023 Here, Hamlet is a melancholy suburban prince named Juicy, in a Black family rocked by betrayal and fratricide and ghosts who pop out of backyard grills. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2023 Coral Connections by Alex Mustard Two semi-transparent ghost gobies swim among the branches of a fan coral in the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Sep. 2023 With their war wounds, the characters of Adagio seem like ghosts of a bygone era. Boris Sollazzo, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 More than 1,100 Amazon shoppers have given the inflatable ghost a five-star rating. Amanda Oliver, Peoplemag, 3 Sep. 2023
Becoming ghosted when dating sucks, there’s no denying that. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 19 Sep. 2023 Notably, this halal Hinge has introduced my mum and other parents like her to all the pitfalls of modern dating, including but not limited to ghosting, gaslighting, and trolling. WIRED, 15 Sep. 2023 Finding work nowadays comes with all the same emotional twists and turns as finding a date: there's longing, hope, clever DMs, anxiety, and also ghosting. Brad Mislow, CBS News, 10 Sep. 2023 Although the monitor tops out at a 1440p resolution, its lightning-fast 175-hertz refresh rate compensates for it with smooth visuals free of ghosting or blur. Popular Mechanics, 29 Aug. 2023 But Che says that was only until Miranda ghosted them. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 24 Aug. 2023 However, research shows that, surprisingly, those who are ghosted are more likely to ghost others. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 26 July 2023 Permission to ghost fairweather friends More: Sign up for Carolyn’s email newsletter to get her column delivered to your inbox each morning. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2023 Bud Light:Trans activist Dylan Mulvaney says brand ghosted her after conservative boycott Subsequently, Bud Light lost its spot as the top-selling U.S. beer and laid off hundreds of employees. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ghost

Cite this Entry

“Ghost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

Medical Definition


: 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

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