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[gohst-lee] /ˈgoʊst li/
adjective, ghostlier, ghostliest.
of, characteristic of, or resembling a ghost; phantasmal; spectral.
Literary. spiritual.
Origin of ghostly
before 900; Middle English; Old English gāstlīc. See ghost, -ly
Related forms
ghostliness, noun
unghostly, adjective
1. wraithlike, phantom, ghostlike, unearthly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ghostly
  • Ultraviolet light causes the mushroomlike fruiting bodies of myxomycetes, or slime molds, to luminesce with a ghostly aura.
  • The presence of the tall ghostly figure, moving slowly through the halls, he took as a reproach to himself.
  • There was a ghostly presence in the room, as of dinners long since digested, of table-talk that had lost its actuality.
  • The few people inside are dressed in ghostly white protective suits.
  • ghostly, private worlds will be overlaid on reality, sensitive only to members.
  • Behind these ghostly sensations lies the secret of touch.
  • Instead of dull brown, they were a ghostly gray verging on green and flecked with gold.
  • If you then look at a blank wall, you'll see a ghostly afterimage of the flag in reversed colors for a few seconds.
  • Not sure what to make of the screaming ghostly figure behind his shoulder, nor of the dolphin swimming up his back.
  • There it would stand, all alone, as a distant ghostly eminence above the far-off horizon.
British Dictionary definitions for ghostly


adjective -lier, -liest
of or resembling a ghost; spectral: a ghostly face appeared at the window
suggesting the presence of ghosts; eerie
(archaic) of or relating to the soul or spirit
Derived Forms
ghostliness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for ghostly

Old English gastlic "spiritual, holy; clerical;" also "ghostly, spectral, pertaining to or characteristic of a ghost;" see ghost + -ly (1). Related: Ghostliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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