ghost town

noun
a town permanently abandoned by its inhabitants, as because of a business decline or because a nearby mine has been worked out.

Origin:
1870–75

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
ghost town
 
n
a deserted town, esp one in the western US that was formerly a boom town

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

ghost town definition


A town, especially a boomtown in the old American West, that has been completely abandoned and deserted: “If you drive through the desert, you can still see the main street of Dry Gulch, a ghost town.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

ghost town

A once thriving town that has been completely abandoned, as in Many of the old mining communities are ghost towns now. This idiom implies that there are no living people left in town. [First half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Walk through a ghost town and underground mine, recreated with precise detail.
Nevertheless, it was nearly destroyed by fire and bombardment, and was a ghost
  town by war's end.
The cormorants have turned this place into a ghost town.
Away from its centre, where police answered protesters' dynamite with tear gas,
  the capital was a ghost town.
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