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wraith

[reyth]
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noun
  1. an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death.
  2. a visible spirit.
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Origin of wraith

1505–15; originally Scots; origin uncertain
Related formswraith·like, adjective
Can be confusedwraith wreath wreathe writhe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


British Dictionary definitions for wraithlike

wraith

noun
  1. the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his death
  2. a ghost or any apparition
  3. an insubstantial copy of something
  4. something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke
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Derived Formswraithlike, 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

Word Origin and History for wraithlike

wraith

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper