American English

Definition of ghost noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] the spirit of a dead person that a living person believes they can see or hear Do you believe in ghosts (= believe that they exist)? the ghost of her father that had come back to haunt her He looked as if he had seen a ghost (= looked very frightened).
  2. 2[countable] the memory of something, especially something bad The ghost of anti-Semitism still haunts Europe.
  3. 3[singular] ghost of something a very slight amount of something that is left behind or that you are not sure really exists There was a ghost of a smile on his face. You don't have a ghost of a chance (= you have no chance).
  4. 4[singular] a second image on a television screen that is not as clear as the first, caused by a fault
  5. Idioms
    be a shadow/ghost of your former self
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    to not have the strength, influence, etc. that you used to have When his career ended, he became a shadow of his former self.
      give up the ghost
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    1. 1to die
    2. 2(humorous) (of a machine) to stop working My car finally gave up the ghost.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: ghost