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[reyth] /reɪθ/
an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death.
a visible spirit.
Origin of wraith
1505-15; originally Scots; origin uncertain
Related forms
wraithlike, adjective
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wraith
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It made not the slightest difference to me that I had fallen in love with a girl who was only a step removed from a wraith.

    The Blind Spot Austin Hall
  • They had him, but it was like getting hold of an apparition, a wraith, a portent.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • Sometimes he smiled at her; sometimes at the wraith in the rafters.

    The Secret of the Storm Country Grace Miller White
  • Was she a woman or a wraith, this slender thing swaying in the candle-light?

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
  • Even the wraith bride performed her part now, where she had feeling to help her weakness, and set her up among realities.

  • This apparition of a friend has in the Scotch wraith, or Irish fetch its counterpart.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • You clutched at form and gripped shadow, gave yourself to a man and bedded with the wraith of a man.

    Children of the Frost Jack London
  • How could this wraith, this apparition, do us physical injury!

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • He made it drift as silently as a wraith under the trees and the street lamps.

    Operation Terror William Fitzgerald Jenkins
British Dictionary definitions for wraith


the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his death
a ghost or any apparition
an insubstantial copy of something
something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke
Derived Forms
wraithlike, adjective
Word Origin
C16: Scottish, of unknown origin
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 wraith

1510s, "ghost," Scottish, of uncertain origin. Weekley suggests Old Norse vorðr "guardian" in the sense of "guardian angel." Klein points to Gaelic and Irish arrach "specter, apparition."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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