Definition of spectre in English:


Line breaks: spectre
Pronunciation: /ˈspɛktə
(US specter)


  • 1A ghost: a dread of spectres and witches affected every aspect of daily life
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    • Only when memory is, like the narrator's in Kesey's novel, sufficiently dim, do the dead appear as specters and ghosts.
    • He believes the spectre is the ghost of Pte Crowley, of the 11th North Devonshire Regiment.
    • In curing speech of specters and ghosts, analytical philosophy claims to cleanse the mind of a dreamy fondness for every sort of idealism, vitalism, Platonism, and transcendentalism.
    ghost, phantom, apparition, spirit, wraith, shadow, presence, illusion; Scottish & Irish bodach; German doppelgänger; West Indian duppy
    informal spook
    literary phantasm, shade, revenant, wight
    rare eidolon, manes
  • 1.1Something widely feared as a possible unpleasant or dangerous occurrence: the spectre of nuclear holocaust
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    • Lately she's been thinking a lot about selling her home to break free from debt, because she fears the specter of foreclosure every day.
    • Our world has changed; we must adjust our living habits as necessary to address the increased danger that the specter of terrorism brings.
    • It also raises the specter of a dangerous shift toward protectionism.
    threat, menace, shadow, cloud, vision; prospect; danger, peril, fear, dread


early 17th century: from French spectre or Latin spectrum (see spectrum).

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