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[spek-ter] /ˈspɛk tər/
a visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
some object or source of terror or dread:
the specter of disease or famine.
Also, especially British, spectre.
Origin of specter
1595-1605; < Latin spectrum; see spectrum
1. shade. See ghost. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for specters
  • The ethicists were informed that they were giving science a bad name to raise such specters as if they were real possibilities.
  • He wasn't some pea-brained psycho who let figments and specters push him around.
  • The twin specters of an energy shortage and global climate change loom over our energy-hungry modern civilization.
  • Yet on this pleasant spring evening the specters of war were still only shadows.
  • To be sure, there lurks in the background the faint specters of overuse and misuse of the recall power.
  • There are yet to be appointed four in- specters of forests and twelve patrolmen or forest rangers.
Word Origin and History for specters



c.1600, from French spectre "an image, figure, ghost" (16c.), from Latin spectrum "appearance, vision, apparition" (see spectrum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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