Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


or fantom

[fan-tuh m] /ˈfæn təm/
an apparition or specter.
an appearance or illusion without material substance, as a dream image, mirage, or optical illusion.
a person or thing of merely illusory power, status, efficacy, etc.:
the phantom of fear.
an illustration, part of which is given a transparent effect so as to permit representation of details otherwise hidden from view, as the inner workings of a mechanical device.
of, relating to, or of the nature of a phantom; illusory:
a phantom sea serpent.
Electricity. noting or pertaining to a phantom circuit.
named, included, or recorded but nonexistent; fictitious:
Payroll checks were made out and cashed for phantom employees.
Origin of phantom
1250-1300; Middle English fantosme < Middle French, Old French < Latin phantasma phantasm
Related forms
phantomlike, adjective
5. imaginary.
5. real, material.
Synonym Study
1, 2. See apparition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for phantom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A phantom of him moving silent about the house fill the part as well!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • He looked after his wife fixedly, without a word, as though she had been a phantom.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • The phantom that my mind pursued, was another and more real child.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • What phantom of the brain did he pursue; and why did he look down so constantly?

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for phantom


  1. an apparition or spectre
  2. (as modifier): a phantom army marching through the sky
the visible representation of something abstract, esp as appearing in a dream or hallucination: phantoms of evil haunted his sleep
something apparently unpleasant or horrific that has no material form
(med) another name for manikin (sense 2b)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French fantosme, from Latin phantasmaphantasm
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for phantom

c.1300, fantum "illusion, unreality," from Old French fantosme (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fantauma, from Latin phantasma "an apparition" (see phantasm). The ph- was restored in English late 16c. (see ph). Meaning "specter, spirit, ghost" is attested from late 14c.; that of "something having the form, but not the substance, of a real thing" is from 1707. As an adjective from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
phantom in Medicine

phantom phan·tom or fan·tom (fān'təm)

  1. Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.

  2. An image that appears only in the mind; an illusion.

  3. A model, especially a transparent one, of the human body or of any of its parts.

  1. Resembling, characteristic of, or being a phantom; illusive.

  2. Fictitious; nonexistent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for phantom

Word Value for phantom

Scrabble Words With Friends