- a visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
- some object or source of terror or dread: the specter of disease or famine.
Origin of specter
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for specter
Despite his efforts to live in the present, he seemed haunted by the specter of his father.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
The specter of wrongful convictions haunts the public officials involved.The Myth of the Central Park Five
October 19, 2014
The specter of this virus fills some of our most stalwart souls with unreasoning dread even when it is no immediate threat.Ebola Nurses Are As Brave As Soldiers
October 17, 2014
If 80,000 is the population of Danbury, 60 million is the population of California and Texas combined: no small specter, that.Kailash Satyarthi, Malala's Nobel Peace Prize Co-Winner, Is Fighting India's Child Slavery Epidemic
October 11, 2014
Most embarrassing of all is the specter of people asking in the name of religion for permission to discriminate.A Victory for ‘Religious Freedom’ is a Loss for Religion
June 8, 2014
See, 'tis myself here standing alive, no specter that speaks!Graded Poetry: Second Year
I—I may tell you that this specter has been shot at before without the slightest effect.The Ghost Breaker
They compliment themselves and push the specter of age aside.The Eugenic Marriage, Vol 2 (of 4)
W. Grant Hague
But something happened which drove the specter of fear away.Colorado Jim
It was his lost daughter, and her companion—the Specter Bridegroom!Humorous Ghost Stories
Word Origin and History for specter
c.1600, from French spectre "an image, figure, ghost" (16c.), from Latin spectrum "appearance, vision, apparition" (see spectrum).