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1. A ghostly apparition; a phantom.
2. A haunting or disturbing image or prospect: the terrible specter of nuclear war.

[French spectre, from Latin spectrum, appearance, apparition; see spectrum.]


(ˈspɛk tər)

1. a visible incorporeal spirit, esp. one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
2. some object or source of terror or dread: the specter of disease.
Also, esp. Brit., spectre.
[1595–1605; < Latin spectrum; see spectrum]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.specter - a mental representation of some haunting experiencespecter - a mental representation of some haunting experience; "he looked like he had seen a ghost"; "it aroused specters from his past"
fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, shadow, apparition - something existing in perception only; "a ghostly apparition at midnight"
2.specter - a ghostly appearing figurespecter - a ghostly appearing figure; "we were unprepared for the apparition that confronted us"
disembodied spirit, spirit - any incorporeal supernatural being that can become visible (or audible) to human beings
Flying Dutchman - the captain of a phantom ship (the Flying Dutchman) who was condemned to sail against the wind until Judgment Day


A supernatural being, such as a ghost:
Informal: spook.
Regional: haunt.
References in classic literature ?
As time went on, the people of the region became sorely distressed about the Specter of the Haunted Cave.
Tormented, in the hall, with difficulties and obstacles, I remember sinking down at the foot of the staircase--suddenly collapsing there on the lowest step and then, with a revulsion, recalling that it was exactly where more than a month before, in the darkness of night and just so bowed with evil things, I had seen the specter of the most horrible of women.
Afterward, when he saw the despair of his family, and reckoned up the money he had spent, the tears came into his eyes, and he began the long battle with the specter.
If you own 'Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove,' you will NOT need to purchase 'Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment' separately.
When a string of paranormal murders point directly to specters Agent Wheeler, who has trained her entire career to investigate possible specter crimes, finds herself enlisting their help to discover the real culprit.
Specter was born in Kansas but he moved to Pennsylvania to attend the University of Pennsylvania and from that day forth, he remained a son of the Keystone State.
In the second section of this paper, I explore the idea of hauntology in more depth and begin to present my central argument, a claim that the idea of a specter haunting the present does not need to be constructed as one side of a binary opposition to Fukuyama's theory of an end of history.
Specter is an American Jewish senator from the state of Pennsylvania who last year switched from the Republican to the Democratic party.
The article's author then adds: "In that case, I've got the perfect man for the job; Arlen Specter.
Arlen Specter in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Pennsylvania is the surest sign of trouble for incumbents.
Likewise, although Specter supports industry, he is pragmatic and does not put himself in a cheerleader role, instead acknowledging corporate culpability in driving and perpetuating denialism: "Corporations, wrapping themselves in the mantle of progress but all too often propelled by greed, have done more than religion or even Luddism to inflame denialists and raise doubts about the objectivity of science.
Sestak, a retired vice admiral, announced Tuesday that he will challenge Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary.