follow Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is...

doppelgänger

[dop-uh l-gang-er; German daw-puh l-geng-er] /ˈdɒp əlˌgæŋ ər; German ˈdɔ pəlˌgɛŋ ər/
noun
1.
a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person.
Also, Doppelgänger.
Also called doubleganger.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55; < German: literally, double-walker
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for doppelganger
  • Debt, and its doppelganger credit, have expanded beyond all previous historical situations.
  • Our genetic doppelganger had been right there watching us, even outwitting us.
  • That was my doppelganger moving to a new school in the state.
  • You sound like my doppelganger.
  • You're blaming your posts on a doppelganger that's stolen your identity? .
  • And whatever moral reasoning you did to make the choice could have led your doppelganger to make the exact opposite choice.
  • The eye is such a simple shape that it's no surprise to see its doppelganger, even one millions of light years away.
British Dictionary definitions for doppelganger

doppelgänger

/ˈdɒpəlˌɡɛŋə; German ˈdɔpəlˌɡɛŋər/
noun
1.
(legend) a ghostly duplicate of a living person
Word Origin
from German Doppelgänger, literally: double-goer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for doppelganger
noun

a ghostly counterpart of a person; a ghostly double of a living person

Word Origin

German doppel 'double' + ganger 'goer'

Usage Note

also doppelgaenger

noun

alter ego

Word Origin

German doppel 'double' + ganger 'goer'

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for doppelganger
n.

1830, from German Doppelgänger, literally "double-goer," originally with a ghostly sense. See double + gang (n.). Sometimes half-anglicized as doubleganger.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for doppelganger

(German: "double goer"), in German folklore, a wraith or apparition of a living person, as distinguished from a ghost. The concept of the existence of a spirit double, an exact but usually invisible replica of every man, bird, or beast, is an ancient and widespread belief. To meet one's double is a sign that one's death is imminent. The doppelganger became a popular symbol of horror literature, and the theme took on considerable complexity. In The Double (1846), by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for example, a poor clerk, Golyadkin, driven to madness by poverty and unrequited love, beholds his own wraith, who succeeds in everything at which Golyadkin has failed. Finally the wraith succeeds in disposing of his original. An earlier, well-known story of a doppelganger appears in the novel Die Elixiere des Teufels, 2 vol. (1815-16; "The Devil's Elixir"), by the German writer of fantastic tales E.T.A. Hoffmann

Learn more about doppelganger with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for doppelgänger

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for doppelganger

0
25
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for doppelganger