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[pohl-ter-gahyst] /ˈpoʊl tərˌgaɪst/
a ghost or spirit supposed to manifest its presence by noises, knockings, etc.
Origin of poltergeist
1840-50; < German Poltergeist, equivalent to polter(n) to make noise, knock, rattle + Geist ghost Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for poltergeist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I was told you claimed you had to have a poltergeist in the process.

    Sense from Thought Divide Mark Irvin Clifton
  • Yet where did these articles go, and of what use would they be to a poltergeist?

    Byways of Ghost-Land Elliott O'Donnell
  • In case you rejected our applicant for the poltergeist job you have in mind, I was to hand you this.

    Sense from Thought Divide Mark Irvin Clifton
  • On this theory they sent her to her home in a neighboring village, where the poltergeist continued to annoy her.

    Adventurings in the Psychical H. Addington Bruce
  • poltergeist phenomena, however, seldom coincide with the ordinary phenomena of a haunt.

  • Perhaps, if he took no notice, the poltergeist would be discouraged and subside.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan
  • If trickery is not detected the poltergeist is the manifestation of an evil spirit.

  • The poltergeist phenomenon is usually spectacular and is nearly always associated with teen-age neurotics.

    Psichopath Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for poltergeist


a spirit believed to manifest its presence by rappings and other noises and also by acts of mischief, such as throwing furniture about
Word Origin
C19: from German, from poltern to be noisy + Geistghost
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 poltergeist

1838, from German Poltergeist, literally "noisy ghost," from poltern "make noise, rattle" (from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, ring, roar;" cf. bellow, bell) + Geist "ghost" (see ghost). In the native idiom of Northern England, such phenomenon likely would be credited to a boggart.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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