• synonyms


See more synonyms for apparition on Thesaurus.com
  1. a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, especially a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith: a ghostly apparition at midnight.
  2. anything that appears, especially something remarkable or startling: the surprising apparition of cowboys in New York City.
  3. an act of appearing; manifestation.
  4. Astronomy. the appearance or time when a comet, especially a periodic one, is visible: the 1986 apparition of Halley's comet.
Show More

Origin of apparition

1400–50; late Middle English apparicio(u)n < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin appāritiōn- (stem of appāritiō, as calque of Greek epipháneia epiphany), equivalent to Latin appārit(us) (past participle of appārēre; see appear) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsap·pa·ri·tion·al, adjectivenon·ap·pa·ri·tion·al, adjective

Synonyms for apparition

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

1. Apparition, phantasm, phantom are terms for a supernatural appearance. An apparition of a person or thing is an immaterial appearance that seems real, and is generally sudden or startling in its manifestation: an apparition of a headless horseman. Both phantom and phantasm denote an illusory appearance, as in a dream; the former may be pleasant, while the latter is usually frightening: a phantom of loveliness; a monstrous phantasm.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for apparitional

shadowy, eerie, spectral, scary, supernatural, ghastly, weird, whimsical, fantastic, abstract, fictional, unreal, fanciful, hypothetical, theoretical, ideal, visionary, incorporeal, nonmaterial, haunted

Examples from the Web for apparitional

Historical Examples of apparitional

  • She was a slave to hideous rites, gazing at the apparitional snake.

    The Open Boat and Other Stories

    Stephen Crane

  • That is, matter manifests itself in form, and form is apparitional.

  • Buddha is the all-loving teacher, assuming the shape of the beings whom he teaches; this is the Nirmna Kya, his apparitional body.

  • This is the second person of the Buddhist triad, the apparitional body of Gotama.

  • So with the apparitional world: the delusion passes, and unity remains.

British Dictionary definitions for apparitional


  1. an appearance, esp of a ghost or ghostlike figure
  2. the figure so appearing; phantom; spectre
  3. the act of appearing or being visible
Show More

Word Origin for apparition

C15: from Late Latin appāritiō, from Latin: attendance, from appārēre to appear
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 apparitional



c.1500, "unclosing" (of Heaven), from Anglo-French aparicion, Old French apparition, aparoison (15c.), used in reference to the Epiphany (revealing of Christ child to the Wise Men), from Late Latin apparitionem (nominative apparitio) "an appearance," also "attendants," in classical Latin "service, servants," noun of action from past participle stem of apparere "appear" (see appear). Meaning "ghost" first recorded c.1600; the shade of sense differentiation between appearance and apparition is that the latter tends to be unexpected or startling.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper