An attorney, expert in criminal law, who does not himself try criminal cases, but advises other trial lawyers.

- american underworld dictionary - 1950

An apparition or spectre. Often a ghost is the spirit of someone (or something) that has died and has come back to haunt the land of the living. Ghosts are often transparent, translucent , or even invisible. Ghosts usually interact with the land of the living either through auditorily or visually, but rarely do they physically manipulate their surroundings.

Ghost is a word game in which players take turns adding letters to the beginning or end of a group of letters, so as to make part of a word, without making a complete word. Complete words shorter than a certain length (usually 3 or 4) are ignored, so as not to eliminate too many starting sequences.

On his turn, if a player thinks that the last play was not valid, he can challenge that it is not part of a valid word, or that it is a word.

For example, the first player might play H.
The second player adds a G, playing GH.
The first player (assume there are only two here for simplicity... there could be many players) plays GHO.
The second player plays GHOS.
The first player is in trouble now, because GHOST is a complete word, and he doesn't know any other word containing GHOS. He knows any challenge is doomed, so he tries to bluff with RGHOS.
The second player isn't fooled, and challenges this as not part of a word, and the first player can't come up with one, so loses the round.
A player is eliminated after losing a certain number of rounds, most commonly 1 (for a quick game with many players), 3, or 5 (in which case the letters in GHOST are used to keep score, much like in the basketball game horse).

There's a lot of strategy in trying to play words that won't end on you, especially when there are only 2 or 3 players left. Prefixes and suffixes are critical, since you want another player to get "stuck" having to make a complete word, and not being able to add on to the other end of the word. Sometimes it's critical to play letters up to one end of the word to avoid the possibility of somebody being able to add onto the other end. There's also an interesting element where you can sometimes try to stump the other player by picking a particular difficult letter sequence.

In the version of Ghost I know of, you are not allowed to add letters to the beginning, only the end. So the letters you use have to form the start of a word.

I was bored, so I solved this game for two players, assuming that the valid words consist of words in the TWL98 dictionary that are more than three letters long.

It's a second-player game. Not too many games are. What this means is that no matter what the first player does, the second player can do something to force a win.

Perhaps I'll make "Everything2 Ghost" to prove it.

Ghosts or ghost-like presences manifest themeselves as sights, sounds, smells, or even feelings. They are usually found at locations of high positive or negative emotions, such as anger, love, envy, or joy.

Ghosts frequently appear as ectoplasmic mists and brightly lit spheres (called orbs) in photos. Actual human shaped sightings of ghosts are the rarest of all ghostly visitations. has a large library of ghost pictures, including "vorteces", mists, and orbs.

Ghostly sounds are relatively common in hauntings. Sounds of footsteps, loud banging, creaks, and voices with no apparent source can indicate ghostly presence. These, like ghostly smells, may occur more often than many realize, because of the ease with which one can discount them to natural phenomenon, or even just voices in one's head.

Ghostly smells, and I don't mean the smell your dog makes after he steals a burrito off the table, may also be more common than most people realize. Frequently reported smells include cigarette smoke, flowers, and perfume. My wife has had several instances in our house of an unfamiliar, strong perfume smell. It's not anything we use in the house, and it comes and goes without a discernible pattern.

Feelings may be the most common hauntings of all. Feeling that someone is watching you, or that you're not alone, or even that something evil or good is present are all ways that ghosts haunt. Again, these can be easily dismissed as 'just feelings.'

Hip-hop slang, for "I'm out of here." As used, for example, by Nas on "Represent," a track from his seminal Illmatic LP.

Mike'll chop it, Mayo, you count the profit
My shit is on the streets that way the Jakes'll never stop it
It's your brain on drugs, to all fly bitches and thugs
Nuff respect to the projects, I'm ghost, One Love

The most common usage is simply, "I'm ghost." It is used only as an adjective.

Term in television broadcasting for a small, semi-transparent logo or image superimposed on the screen. This is the alpha channel version of a bug, typically located in the lower-third.

As long as the ghost contains the call letters and location of license for the station, it fulfills FCC requirements for a legal id, and this is its primary purpose. It also helps, in this day of 100+ channel cable television service, to identify what the station is to a furiously channel-flipping viewer.

A ghost can be fired automatically or manually from a keyer. There is usually a separate manual keyer that a master control operator can fire by hand in the event of failure in the automation.

Ghosts are something I once believed in, as a child. But not anymore. This is partly because of all the people I've met in my life and talked to; none have ever reported paranormal activity. Nobody has ever come up with evidence to support a paranormal claim. All the houses in both neighborhoods I've lived in are generally over 100 years old. There has never been a case where something suspicious could not be given a rational explanation with investigation.

The conclusion I've come up with is not that I have been lucky enough never to see paranormal activity, but that I have been lucky enough to surround myself with intelligent people who do not jump to lofty conclusions when something happens they can not explain right away. The problem with most ghost stories is that the teller is more willing to give you a supernatural explanation instead of something more realistic and mundane.

One of the problems may very well be the population bias of supernatural validity out there. In short, more people are willing to consider a supernatural idea valid based off of their faith and upbringings than investigate or doubt it. For every Scooby-Doo television show we have, where the conclusion of each episode clues the watcher in on whodunit; never without a rational explanation, we have a thousand Ghostbusters, The Rings, The Exorcists, and plenty other media sources we see everyday which encourage you to believe, instead of critically think. There are thousands of ghost stories out there, but how many of them are born from objective, skeptical people?

Perhaps an anecdote is in order: there was a news story in Great Britain recently where a man in a house heard a strange voice every night, which said (paraphrasing), "I'm hungry! Feed me!" The voice sounded pretty threatening, and scared the man. However the man was not content to rest the midnight occurrence on supernatural causes, and called in a team of skeptics to find a suitable answer. Eventually, their search turned up a child's Cookie Monster watch, which had an alarm clock timer set for some time around 2:00am.

I think the moral of this ghost story is obvious.

See also:

Ghost is a 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore and directed by Jerry Zucker. The basic plot is they are a young couple in love (Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen) and one night after a date Sam is killed in a mugging but his ghost remains on Earth to solve his own murder and protect Molly so she does not suffer a similar fate. As it turns out that was no ordinary mugging and the reasons for his murder run deeper than a quick score for a street thug.

Tony Goldwyn plays Carl Bruner, a coworker of Sam's that might have had something to do with that.

This heavily promoted and much-ballyhooed supernatural romance flick was a big vehicle for both stars, although it was more successful for Moore's career than Swayze's, as this film arguably is the one that made her a household name (a departure from her earlier films which were mostly throw-away teen flicks). Released in July, 1990, it was one of that summer's biggest flicks that ended up grossing over $200 million in the US and about $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for five Oscars.

Whoopi Goldberg, as psychic Oda Mae Brown who could hear dead people (but not see them) stole the show, as she is often wont to do, with her typical saucy black woman performance. Her role was to be Sam's avatar in the world of the living, mostly an aide in communications for obvious reasons. Whoopi won here for Best Supporting Actress.

This movie contains the often-imitated, often-mocked clay-pot-making scene, where Sam and Molly (when Sam was still alive and kicking) showed that pottery could be a sexier hobby than it was ever imagined to be before.

It also made "ditto" a buzzword for a while, Sam's typical response when Molly tells him "I love you." It is used as a plot device to convince Molly that Oda Mae is indeed being used by Sam's ghost to attempt communication with her.

I found the most interesting part of this somewhat over-hyped "love thriller" was the subway scene where some rules about being a ghost were discovered and explained, rules and ideas that I have incorporated into some of my own ghost stories. Vincent Schiavelli plays an angry, depressed, subway ghost, mostly a nuisance to travelers. He teaches Sam that the key to interacting with the living environment is in his mind, that his arms, legs, hands, for all intents and purposes aren't really there. In other words, his appendages will just fly though things, just as he walks through walls, when he tries to touch them unless he uses intense mental focus. He uses this skill later to float a coin towards Molly.

All in all, not a bad flick. I always appreciate it when a bit of supernatural fantasy or scifi is added to what would otherwise just be another boring romantic "chick flick."

Ghost was released by Paramount Pictures on July 13, 1990 and is 128 minutes long.

Sources: and Wikipedia

Ghost (?), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. gast breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. gst spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.]


The spirit; the soul of man.


Then gives her grieved ghost thus to lament. Spenser.


The disembodied soul; the soul or spirit of a deceased person; a spirit appearing after death; an apparition; a specter.

The mighty ghosts of our great Harrys rose. Shak.

I thought that I had died in sleep, And was a blessed ghost. Coleridge.


Any faint shadowy semblance; an unsubstantial image; a phantom; a glimmering; as, not a ghost of a chance; the ghost of an idea.

Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Poe.


A false image formed in a telescope by reflection from the surfaces of one or more lenses.

Ghost moth Zool., a large European moth (Hepialus humuli); so called from the white color of the male, and the peculiar hovering flight; -- called also great swift. -- Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit; the Paraclete; the Comforter; Theol. the third person in the Trinity. -- To give up ∨ yield up the ghost, to die; to expire.

And he gave up the ghost full softly. Chaucer.

Jacob . . . yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. Gen. xlix. 33.


© Webster 1913.

Ghost, v. i.

To die; to expire.


Sir P. Sidney.


© Webster 1913.

Ghost, v. t.

To appear to or haunt in the form of an apparition.




© Webster 1913.

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