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[pohl-ter-gahyst] /ˈpoʊl tərˌgaɪst/
a ghost or spirit supposed to manifest its presence by noises, knockings, etc.
Origin of poltergeist
1840-50; < German Poltergeist, equivalent to polter(n) to make noise, knock, rattle + Geist ghost Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for poltergeist
  • But she's dark and driven: there's something of the poltergeist about her.
  • The drawers of a wobbly dresser periodically opened by themselves, as if the room had a poltergeist.
  • There is a poltergeist named peeves in the harry potter books.
  • This is the opposite of a poltergeist a spirit obsessed with cleaning and tidying.
British Dictionary definitions for poltergeist


a spirit believed to manifest its presence by rappings and other noises and also by acts of mischief, such as throwing furniture about
Word Origin
C19: from German, from poltern to be noisy + Geistghost
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 poltergeist

1838, from German Poltergeist, literally "noisy ghost," from poltern "make noise, rattle" (from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, ring, roar;" cf. bellow, bell) + Geist "ghost" (see ghost). In the native idiom of Northern England, such phenomenon likely would be credited to a boggart.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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