- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for phantom
The sanctuary the phantom callers promise comes with a price.
As this begins to set in, the phantom caller morphs into Lori, who whispers to her husband, “What happened, Rick?”
Doctors, patients, a phantom lawyer (“I spoke with the patient at length, but he is still refusing…”)?Real Life Lazarus: When Patients Rise From the Dead
August 21, 2014
This spurred Creative Director Adam Isgreen, who also worked on Killer Instinct, to outline of a Phantom Dust reboot—just in case.Video Games Go Wild for Reboots
July 6, 2014
In March, they were in New York and joined by Liza Minnelli to catch the opening performance of The Phantom of the Opera.Exclusive: Michael Jackson Hit With New Sex Abuse Claim
May 12, 2014
A phantom of him moving silent about the house fill the part as well!Weighed and Wanting
He looked after his wife fixedly, without a word, as though she had been a phantom.The Secret Agent
That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom.The Devil's Dictionary
The phantom that my mind pursued, was another and more real child.A Tale of Two Cities
What phantom of the brain did he pursue; and why did he look down so constantly?Barnaby Rudge
- an apparition or spectre
- (as modifier)a phantom army marching through the sky
- the visible representation of something abstract, esp as appearing in a dream or hallucinationphantoms of evil haunted his sleep
- something apparently unpleasant or horrific that has no material form
- med another name for manikin (def. 2b)
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.
- Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.
- An image that appears only in the mind; an illusion.
- A model, especially a transparent one, of the human body or of any of its parts.
- Resembling, characteristic of, or being a phantom; illusive.
- Fictitious; nonexistent.