give ghost


the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.
a mere shadow or semblance; a trace: He's a ghost of his former self.
a remote possibility: He hasn't a ghost of a chance.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a spiritual being.
the principle of life; soul; spirit.
Informal. ghost writer.
a secondary image, especially one appearing on a television screen as a white shadow, caused by poor or double reception or by a defect in the receiver.
Also called ghost image. Photography. a faint secondary or out-of-focus image in a photographic print or negative resulting from reflections within the camera lens.
an oral word game in which each player in rotation adds a letter to those supplied by preceding players, the object being to avoid ending a word.
Optics. a series of false spectral lines produced by a diffraction grating with unevenly spaced lines.
Metalworking. a streak appearing on a freshly machined piece of steel containing impurities.
a red blood cell having no hemoglobin.
a fictitious employee, business, etc., fabricated especially for the purpose of manipulating funds or avoiding taxes: Investigation showed a payroll full of ghosts.
verb (used with object)
to ghostwrite (a book, speech, etc.).
to haunt.
Engraving. to lighten the background of (a photograph) before engraving.
verb (used without object)
to ghostwrite.
to go about or move like a ghost.
(of a sailing vessel) to move when there is no perceptible wind.
to pay people for work not performed, especially as a way of manipulating funds.
fabricated for purposes of deception or fraud: We were making contributions to a ghost company.
give up the ghost,
to die.
to cease to function or exist.

before 900; Middle English goost (noun), Old English gāst; cognate with German Geist spirit

ghostily, adverb
ghostlike, adjective
deghost, verb (used with object)
unghostlike, adjective

1. apparition, phantom, phantasm, wraith, revenant; shade, spook. Ghost, specter, spirit all refer to the disembodied soul of a person. A ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person, which appears or otherwise makes its presence known to the living: the ghost of a drowned child. A specter is a ghost or apparition of more or less weird, unearthly, or terrifying aspect: a frightening specter. Spirit is often interchangeable with ghost but may mean a supernatural being, usually with an indication of good or malign intent toward human beings: the spirit of a friend; an evil spirit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
ghost (ɡəʊst)
1.  the disembodied spirit of a dead person, supposed to haunt the living as a pale or shadowy vision; phantomRelated: spectral
2.  a haunting memory: the ghost of his former life rose up before him
3.  a faint trace or possibility of something; glimmer: a ghost of a smile
4.  the spirit; soul (archaic, except in the phrase the Holy Ghost)
5.  physics
 a.  a faint secondary image produced by an optical system
 b.  a similar image on a television screen, formed by reflection of the transmitting waves or by a defect in the receiver
6.  See ghost word
7.  Also called: ghost edition an entry recorded in a bibliography of which no actual proof exists
8.  See ghostwrite Another name for ghostwriter
9.  (modifier) falsely recorded as doing a particular job or fulfilling a particular function in order that some benefit, esp money, may be obtained: a ghost worker
10.  give up the ghost
 a.  to die
 b.  (of a machine) to stop working
11.  See ghostwrite
12.  (tr) to haunt
13.  (intr) to move effortlessly and smoothly, esp unnoticed: he ghosted into the penalty area
Related: spectral
[Old English gāst; related to Old Frisian jēst, Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit hēda fury, anger]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. gast "soul, spirit, life, breath," from P.Gmc. *ghoizdoz (cf. O.S. gest, O.Fris. jest, M.Du. gheest, Ger. Geist "spirit, ghost"), from PIE base *ghois- "to be excited, frightened" (cf. Skt. hedah "wrath;" Avestan zaesha- "horrible, frightful;" Goth. usgaisjan, O.E. gæstan "to frighten"). This
was the usual W.Gmc. word for "supernatural being," and the primary sense seems to have been connected to the idea of "to wound, tear, pull to pieces." The surviving O.E. senses, however, are in Christian writing, where it is used to render L. spiritus, a sense preserved in Holy Ghost. Modern sense of "disembodied spirit of a dead person" is attested from c.1385 and returns the word toward its ancient sense. Most IE words for "soul, spirit" also double with ref. to supernatural spirits. Many have a base sense of "appearance" (e.g. Gk. phantasma; Fr. spectre; Pol. widmo, from O.C.S. videti "to see;" O.E. scin, O.H.G. giskin, originally "appearance, apparition," related to O.E. scinan, O.H.G. skinan "to shine"). Other concepts are in Fr. revenant, lit. "returning" (from the other world), O.N. aptr-ganga, lit. "back-comer." Bret. bugelnoz is lit. "night-child." L. manes, lit. "the good ones," is a euphemism. The gh- spelling appeared c.1425 in Caxton, influenced by Flem. and M.Du. gheest, but was rare in Eng. before c.1550. Sense of "slight suggestion" (in ghost image, ghost of a chance, etc.) is first recorded 1613; that in ghost writing is from 1884, but that term is not found until 1927. Ghost town is from 1931. Ghost in the machine was Gilbert Ryle's term (1949) for "the mind viewed as separate from the body."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Ghost definition

an old Saxon word equivalent to soul or spirit. It is the translation of the Hebrew _nephesh_ and the Greek _pneuma_, both meaning "breath," "life," "spirit," the "living principle" (Job 11:20; Jer. 15:9; Matt. 27:50; John 19:30). The expression "to give up the ghost" means to die (Lam. 1:19; Gen. 25:17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11). (See HOLY GHOST.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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