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 formswraith·like, adjective
Can be confusedwraith wreath wreathe writhe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for wraith

phantom, apparition, specter, vision, spirit, shadowy

Examples from the Web for wraith

Contemporary Examples of wraith

Historical Examples of wraith

  • In the strange illumination of the search beams he seemed the wraith of a scarecrow.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • Across the stair she wavered, a wraith blown across the gulf of time.


    James Huneker

  • They had him, but it was like getting hold of an apparition, a wraith, a portent.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • Was she a woman or a wraith, this slender thing swaying in the candle-light?

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

  • This apparition of a friend has in the Scotch wraith, or Irish fetch its counterpart.

    Welsh Folk-Lore

    Elias Owen

British Dictionary definitions for wraith



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 Formswraithlike, adjective

Word Origin for wraith

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 wraith

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