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[reyth] /reɪθ/
an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death.
a visible spirit.
Origin of wraith
1505-15; originally Scots; origin uncertain
Related forms
wraithlike, adjective
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wraithlike
Historical Examples
  • He is a wraithlike double of Olivier, already able to reckon up all values.

    Romain Rolland Stefan Zweig
  • The young moon shed only a wan and wraithlike radiance over the plain.

  • His body was so frail, so wraithlike, that one almost expected to see through it the magnificent tapestries on the walls.

    The Story of a Pioneer Anna Howard Shaw
  • He called down maledictions on those two strange, impassive, wraithlike forms hardly more than half seen in the darkness and fog.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • But it is a wraithlike thing, and undulates and falls before our eyes like flames that have neither redness nor heat.

    Musical Portraits Paul Rosenfeld
  • But it did not quite vanish; it held its wraithlike outlines, and in a moment began sliding silently backward.

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • He moved quickly in that direction, saw now a wraithlike figure in white.

  • Another second passed; it was visibly growing tenuous, wraithlike!

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • Here were associations almost living, they were so vivid, yet wraithlike in sheer removedness.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • Her dress flickered and flashed through the trees beside the track; it was a wraithlike streak in the twilight.

    The Black Opal

    Katharine Susannah Prichard
British Dictionary definitions for wraithlike


the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his death
a ghost or any apparition
an insubstantial copy of something
something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke
Derived Forms
wraithlike, adjective
Word Origin
C16: Scottish, of unknown origin
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 wraithlike



1510s, "ghost," Scottish, of uncertain origin. Weekley suggests Old Norse vorðr "guardian" in the sense of "guardian angel." Klein points to Gaelic and Irish arrach "specter, apparition."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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