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[gohst-lee] /ˈgoʊst li/
adjective, ghostlier, ghostliest.
of, characteristic of, or resembling a ghost; phantasmal; spectral.
Literary. spiritual.
Origin of ghostly
before 900; Middle English; Old English gāstlīc. See ghost, -ly
Related forms
ghostliness, noun
unghostly, adjective
1. wraithlike, phantom, ghostlike, unearthly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for ghostly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This rock in the inner crater was gray, pale and ghostly in the earthlight.

    The Finding of Haldgren Charles Willard Diffin
  • Have the ghostly traditions of this world truth in them at last?

    Capitola's Peril Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth
  • The ghostly past seemed to have gone, and everything spoke of to-day.

    Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
  • There was again silence, and, but for the ghostly glare of the snow, all was very dark.

    Fix Bay'nets George Manville Fenn
  • This is a remarkable instance; we often hear of raising the ghostly foe, but we are seldom told how it can be done.

British Dictionary definitions for ghostly


adjective -lier, -liest
of or resembling a ghost; spectral: a ghostly face appeared at the window
suggesting the presence of ghosts; eerie
(archaic) of or relating to the soul or spirit
Derived Forms
ghostliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ghostly

Old English gastlic "spiritual, holy; clerical;" also "ghostly, spectral, pertaining to or characteristic of a ghost;" see ghost + -ly (1). Related: Ghostliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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