"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[fan-tuh m] /ˈfæn təm/
an apparition or specter.
an appearance or illusion without material substance, as a dream image, mirage, or optical illusion.
a person or thing of merely illusory power, status, efficacy, etc.:
the phantom of fear.
an illustration, part of which is given a transparent effect so as to permit representation of details otherwise hidden from view, as the inner workings of a mechanical device.
of, relating to, or of the nature of a phantom; illusory:
a phantom sea serpent.
Electricity. noting or pertaining to a phantom circuit.
named, included, or recorded but nonexistent; fictitious:
Payroll checks were made out and cashed for phantom employees.
Also, fantom.
Origin of phantom
1250-1300; Middle English fantosme < Middle French, Old French < Latin phantasma phantasm
Related forms
phantomlike, adjective
1, 2. See apparition. 5. imaginary.
5. real, material. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for phantom
  • For the general public the distinction between a ghost and phantom is a murky one.
  • Thus, the dreaded phantom of swamping by large retailers, is a figment of political imagination.
  • The result is a phantom service billed at the same inconspicuous amount every month to the credit card bill.
  • For amputees suffering from phantom pain, a computer-generated cure might soon be at hand.
  • Distraction appears to be an effective technique to avoid the phantom noise of tinnitus.
  • Attempts at control are doomed to failure unless the phantom lawyer in every consulting room is exorcised for ever.
  • To me this sounds much more logical than being tickled by a phantom flailing faller.
  • He points out that plenty of research has been done into another kind of bodily illusion, phantom limbs.
  • And when the slap connected with his wet cheek, the loud clap stung my face in a phantom sort of way.
  • Politicians reacting to that inequality would be targeting a phantom.
British Dictionary definitions for phantom


  1. an apparition or spectre
  2. (as modifier): a phantom army marching through the sky
the visible representation of something abstract, esp as appearing in a dream or hallucination: phantoms of evil haunted his sleep
something apparently unpleasant or horrific that has no material form
(med) another name for manikin (sense 2b)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French fantosme, from Latin phantasmaphantasm
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
Word Origin and History for phantom

c.1300, fantum "illusion, unreality," from Old French fantosme (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fantauma, from Latin phantasma "an apparition" (see phantasm). The ph- was restored in English late 16c. (see ph). Meaning "specter, spirit, ghost" is attested from late 14c.; that of "something having the form, but not the substance, of a real thing" is from 1707. As an adjective from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
phantom in Medicine

phantom phan·tom or fan·tom (fān'təm)

  1. Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.

  2. An image that appears only in the mind; an illusion.

  3. A model, especially a transparent one, of the human body or of any of its parts.

  1. Resembling, characteristic of, or being a phantom; illusive.

  2. Fictitious; nonexistent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for phantom

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for phantom

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with phantom