Idioms

    give up the ghost,
    1. to die.
    2. to cease to function or exist.

Origin of ghost

before 900; Middle English goost (noun), Old English gāst; cognate with German Geist spirit
SYNONYMS FOR ghost
1 apparition, phantom, phantasm, wraith, revenant; shade, spook. Ghost, specter, spirit all refer to the disembodied soul of a person. A ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person, which appears or otherwise makes its presence known to the living: the ghost of a drowned child. A specter is a ghost or apparition of more or less weird, unearthly, or terrifying aspect: a frightening specter. Spirit is often interchangeable with ghost but may mean a supernatural being, usually with an indication of good or malign intent toward human beings: the spirit of a friend; an evil spirit.
Related formsghost·i·ly, adverbghost·like, adjectivede·ghost, verb (used with object)un·ghost·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for give up the ghost

ghost

/ (ɡəʊst) /

noun


verb

Derived Formsghostlike, adjective

Word Origin for ghost

Old English gāst; related to Old Frisian jēst, Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit hēda fury, anger
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

Idioms and Phrases with give up the ghost (1 of 2)

give up the ghost

Die, as in At ten o'clock he gave up the ghost. This expression, which employs ghost in the sense of “the soul or spirit,” may itself be dying out. [Late 1300s]


Idioms and Phrases with give up the ghost (2 of 2)

ghost

In addition to the idiom beginning with ghost

  • ghost town

also see:

  • Chinaman's (ghost of a) chance
  • give up the ghost

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.