• synonyms


[spek-truh l]
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  1. of or relating to a specter; ghostly; phantom.
  2. resembling or suggesting a specter.
  3. of, relating to, or produced by a spectrum or spectra.
  4. resembling or suggesting a spectrum or spectra.
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Origin of spectral

1710–20; < Latin spectr(um) (see specter) + -al1
Related formsspec·tral·i·ty, spec·tral·ness, nounspec·tral·ly, adverbnon·spec·tral, adjectivenon·spec·tral·ly, adverbnon·spec·tral·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for spectral

shadowy, eerie, haunted, illusory, phantom, scary, spiritual, spooky, supernatural, phantasmal, apparitional

Examples from the Web for spectral

Contemporary Examples of spectral

Historical Examples of spectral

British Dictionary definitions for spectral


  1. of or like a spectre
  2. of or relating to a spectrumspectral colours
  3. physics (of a physical quantity) relating to a single wavelength of radiationspectral luminous efficiency
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Derived Formsspectrality (spɛkˈtrælɪtɪ) or spectralness, nounspectrally, adverb
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 spectral


1718, "capable of seeing spectres;" 1815, "ghostly;" from spectre + -al (1). Meaning "pertaining to a spectrum" is 1832, from stem of spectrum + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spectral in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or produced by a spectrum.
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Related formsspec•trali•ty (-trălĭ-tē) null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.