specter

A specter means a ghostly apparition, a ghost itself, or simply an idea that people find frightening. You can give yourself nightmares if you listen to too many stories about ghostly specters appearing in dark windows.

Specters as fears are the kind that tend to loom on the edge of our minds, lying dormant for awhile, then raising their ugly heads. It can be hard to sleep if you think too much about the specter of a terrorist attack, or the specter that your blabbermouth cousin might spill the beans to your parents about the night you two took your dad's car without asking. The word can also be spelled spectre.

Definitions of specter
  1. noun
    a ghostly appearing figure
    synonyms: apparition, fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, spectre
    see moresee less
    types:
    Flying Dutchman
    the captain of a phantom ship (the Flying Dutchman) who was condemned to sail against the wind until Judgment Day
    type of:
    disembodied spirit, spirit
    any incorporeal supernatural being that can become visible (or audible) to human beings
  2. noun
    a mental representation of some haunting experience
    “it aroused specters from his past”
    synonyms: ghost, shade, spectre, spook, wraith
    see moresee less
    type of:
    apparition, fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, shadow
    something existing in perception only
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week