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Synonyms of apparitions

  • as in spirits
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Thesaurus Definition of apparitions

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • materializations
  • poltergeists
  • familiar spirits
  • doppelgangers
  • doppelgängers

Thesaurus Entries Near apparitions


Cite this Entry

“Apparitions.” Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jan. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on apparitions

Nglish: Translation of apparitions for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apparitions for Arabic Speakers

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Synonyms of 'apparition' in British English

Additional synonyms, synonyms of 'apparition' in american english, browse alphabetically apparition.

  • apparentness
  • appeal to someone
  • All ENGLISH synonyms that begin with 'A'

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12 “Scary” Words For Every Spooky Feeling

synonyms scary apparition

Scary synonyms await ...

As the weather turns colder and Halloween approaches, folks get excited for fall treats like pumpkin spice everything and warm sweaters. But there is another side to the autumnal season. The days get darker and gloomier and there is a spooky feeling in the air. Spooky is not the only word we can use to describe things that scare us. Read on discover the many mysterious ways to talk about things that go bump in the night.


When you’re afraid, you feel it in your whole body—you get goosebumps , you tremble, your heart pounds. It is this sentiment that is expressed in the word bloodcurdling , an adjective meaning “arousing terror; horrifying.” The word curdle means “coagulate, congeal.” In other words, you are so afraid that your blood stops running in your body.

  • My mother let out a bloodcurdling scream when she saw the mouse run across the kitchen floor.

As you can see in this example, bloodcurdling is most often used to describe a scream or other sound of terror.


Another example of a term that touches on the bodily nature of fear is horripilation [ haw-rip- uh – ley -sh uh n ]. Horripilation is a noun that means “a bristling of the hair on the skin from cold, fear, etc.; goose bumps.” This is a medical term for the phenomenon.

  • Sarah noted her horripilation and hoped that no one else would pick up on her fear of the abandoned house.

The word horripilation comes from the Latin horripilāre meaning “to become bristly.”

What gives you more goose bumps: ghosts, ghouls, or goblins? Learn more about what each one is to find out. 

One of the more sophisticated words for describing a scary phenomenon is macabre [ m uh – kah -br uh ]. Macabre is an adjective that means “gruesome and horrifying.” The origin of the word is uncertain, but it is closely connected with the medieval motif of the danse macabre , or dance of death . In the danse macabre people dressed up as corpses or skeletons.

  • When the bloody battle was finally finished, the warriors took in the macabre sight.

Another advanced vocabulary term for describing a spooky, scary scene is tenebrous [ ten – uh -br uh s ]. Tenebrous is an adjective meaning “dark; gloomy; obscure.”

  • The travelers set out into the tenebrous night without even the moon to help guide their way.

Another word that shares a root with tenebrous is Tenebrae , a ceremony in the Roman Catholic Church where “the Crucifixion is commemorated by the gradual extinguishment of candles.” The word Tenebrae literally means “darkness” in Latin.

The adjective dreadful has a variety of meanings, one of which is “causing great dread, fear, or terror; terrible.” Dread means “terror or apprehension as to something in the future.” In other words, dread is the feeling you have when you are expecting or waiting for something bad to happen.

  • As the sailors rushed to batten down the hatches, the dreadful storm threatened on the horizon.

The word dreadful appears in the somewhat antiquated British expression penny dreadful , meaning “a cheap, sensational novel of adventure, crime, or violence.”

Learn how to articulate the difference between terror and horror.

Something that has scared humans throughout history is the specter of the unknown or supernatural . One word to describe these phenomena is uncanny , an adjective meaning “mysterious; arousing superstitious fear or dread; uncomfortably strange.”

  • I couldn’t shake the uncanny feeling that someone was watching me.

The expression uncanny is found in the expression uncanny valley meaning “a psychological concept that describes the feelings of unease or revulsion that people tend to have toward artificial representations of human beings, as robots or computer animations, that closely imitate many but not all the features and behaviors of actual human beings.” A good example of the uncanny valley can be found in the 2019 film adaptation of Cats , as the human-feline CGI made a lot of people really uncomfortable.

Another ghost-adjacent term for scary is ghastly [ gast -lee ], “shockingly frightful or dreadful, horrible.” The word can also be used to mean “resembling a ghost.”

  • The detective inspector grimly inspected the ghastly scene of the crime.

The word ghastly ultimately comes from the Middle English gast , meaning “afraid.”

Add to your scary words repository with these perfectly frightening words perfect for Halloween.

The word boggle is not only the name of a fun board game. Boggle is also a verb meaning “to start or jump with fear, alarm, or surprise.”

  • We boggled at our own shadows in the dark and spooky corridor.

While the origin of the word boggle is not certain, it is thought to perhaps come from the word bogle meaning “a bogy ; specter,” also known as a hobgoblin or evil spirit.

Our next word for scare comes to us from South Africa. Skrik [ skrik ] is a noun meaning “a sudden fright or panic.”

  • The undertaker got a skrik when he heard something moving around inside the coffin.

Skrik comes from the Dutch schrik , meaning “fright.”

One of the oldest words in our list is grisly [ griz -lee ], an adjective that means “causing a shudder or feeling of horror; horrible; gruesome.”

  • You may not want to watch this part of the operation; it is pretty grisly .

A common mistake people make is to confuse grisly and grizzly , meaning “somewhat gray; grayish.” The words have different roots and are not synonyms.

The word eerie [ eer -ee ] sounds a bit like the sound a spooky ghost might make. It’s fitting, then, that the word means “uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird.”

  • The abandoned parking lot was eerie at this time of night, so Khalid walked quickly to his car.

Eerie comes from the Old English earg , meaning “cowardly.” Despite this, the word is not pejorative in the same way the synonym weird is.

Something that is grotesque may give you a fright. Grotesque means “odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre.”

  • Everyone was shocked at the mayor’s grotesque , inappropriate behavior toward his staff.

The word grotesque comes from the Italian grottesca . During the Renaissance, gargoyle -like decorations were found in ancient Roman ruins known as grottes , from which we ultimately get the word.

Take our quiz!

If you haven’t been scared off already by all this spooky vocabulary, you can test your knowledge of it with our short (and not that scary) quiz here . Feel like you want to review these terms? You can do that with our word list here —and then come back to test your knowledge!

Are you scared of attracting bad luck? At least you can arm yourself with this trove of unlucky synonyms.

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synonyms scary apparition

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Definition of creepy adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • a creepy ghost story
  • It's kind of creepy down in the cellar!
  • It feels a bit creepy in here.

Want to learn more?

Find out which words work together and produce more natural-sounding English with the Oxford Collocations Dictionary app. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app.

synonyms scary apparition


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  3. Synonyms in English For Ghost, spirit, apparition, phantom, poltergeist

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  6. 12 Spooky Synonyms for "Scary"

    synonyms scary apparition


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  1. APPARITION Synonyms: 51 Similar Words

    Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance ghost spirit phantom spectre specter materialization poltergeist wraith phantasm vision demon haunt visitant bogie sprite bogy vampire shadow spook angel zombie familiar spirit hant fantasm bogey zombi ghoul doppelganger shade familiar genie double

  2. 20 Synonyms & Antonyms for APPARITION

    noun (1) as in ghost Advertisement View definitions for apparition apparition noun as in ghost

  3. What is another word for apparition?

    Need synonyms for apparition? Here's a list of similar words from our thesaurus that you can use instead. Contexts A ghost, spirit, or ghostlike image of a person A remarkable or unexpected appearance of someone or something A thing that someone believes to be real but that exists only in their imagination A delusion, a false hope … more Noun

  4. Spooky Apparition synonyms

    nouns suggest new eerie apparition n. ghostly apparition n. frightening apparition n. spooky ghost n. unearthly apparition n. creepy undead eerie shadow n. haunted phantom n. mysterious apparition n. sinister apparition n. spooky shadow n. supernatural apparition n. terrifying apparition n. bone-chilling specter chilling phantom disturbing skeleton

  5. GHOST Synonyms: 175 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms of ghost ghost 1 of 2 noun Definition of ghost 1 as in apparition the soul of a dead person thought of especially as appearing to living people looked for ghosts in the graveyard on Halloween Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance apparition spirit phantom haunt spectre wraith poltergeist specter zombie vampire shadow spook angel demon sprite

  6. SCARY Synonyms: 188 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance terrifying frightening formidable horrible terrible intimidating alarming fearful dread shocking horrifying creepy eerie startling dreadful frightful ghastly gruesome eery fearsome troubling horrendous forbidding dire disturbing direful trying spine-chilling threatening hair-raising unnerving

  7. Synonyms of APPARITION

    Synonyms of 'apparition' in British English. apparition. Explore 'apparition' in the dictionary. apparition (noun) in the sense of ghost. Definition. a ghost or ghostlike figure. She recognized one of the women as the apparition she had seen. Synonyms. ghost. The village is said to be haunted by ghosts.

  8. APPARITIONS Synonyms: 53 Similar Words

    Synonyms for APPARITIONS: spirits, ghosts, visions, shadows, spectres, phantoms, specters, materializations, poltergeists, phantasms

  9. Apparition Synonyms and Antonyms

    Synonyms for APPARITION: phantom, phantasm, specter, phantasma, fantasm, spirit, masan, duppy, spectre, shadow, idolum, oni, phasm, bogeyman, eidolon, ghost, phantasm ...

  10. Apparition

    apparition: 1 n a ghostly appearing figure "we were unprepared for the apparition that confronted us" Synonyms: fantasm , phantasm , phantasma , phantom , specter , spectre Types: Flying Dutchman the captain of a phantom ship (the Flying Dutchman) who was condemned to sail against the wind until Judgment Day Type of: disembodied spirit , ...

  11. Ghostly Apparition synonyms

    Synonyms for Ghostly Apparition (other words and phrases for Ghostly Apparition). Synonyms for Ghostly apparition. 180 other terms for ghostly apparition- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. words. phrases. idioms. Parts of speech. nouns.

  12. apparition

    apparition - WordReference thesaurus: synonyms, discussion and more. All Free. ... many are not synonyms or translations): bogy - chimera - delusion - dream - ghost - manifestation - phantasm - phantom - presence - shade - shadow - shape - soul - specter - spirit - vision - wraith.

  13. APPARITION Synonyms

    Synonyms of 'apparition' in British English apparition Explore 'apparition' in the dictionary apparition (noun) in the sense of ghost Definition a ghost or ghostlike figure She recognized one of the women as the apparition she had seen. Synonyms ghost spirit shade (literary) phantom spectre spook (informal) wraith chimera revenant visitant eidolon

  14. apparition noun

    Definition of apparition noun in Oxford Advanced American Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more.

  15. Apparition synonyms

    Synonyms for Apparition (other words and phrases for Apparition). Synonyms for Apparition. 772 other terms for apparition- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. words. phrases. idioms. Parts of speech. nouns.

  16. APPARITION in Thesaurus: 1000+ Synonyms & Antonyms for APPARITION

    Most related words/phrases with sentence examples define Apparition meaning and usage. Thesaurus for Apparition. Related terms for apparition- synonyms, antonyms and sentences with apparition. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. Parts of speech. nouns. adjectives. verbs. Synonyms Similar meaning.

  17. apparition: OneLook Thesaurus and Reverse Dictionary

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  18. 18 Synonyms & Antonyms for SCARY

    Advertisement View definitions for scary scary adjective as in frightening, terrifying

  19. 29 Synonyms & Antonyms for GHOSTLY

    Advertisement View definitions for ghostly ghostly adjective as in spooky

  20. creepy adjective

    1 causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or slight horror synonym scary a creepy ghost story It's kind of creepy down in the cellar! Want to learn more? Find out which words work together and produce more natural-sounding English with the Oxford Collocations Dictionary app. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app.

  21. 12 Spooky Synonyms for "Scary"

    bloodcurdling When you're afraid, you feel it in your whole body—you get goosebumps, you tremble, your heart pounds. It is this sentiment that is expressed in the word bloodcurdling, an adjective meaning "arousing terror; horrifying." The word curdle means "coagulate, congeal."

  22. creepy adjective

    /ˈkriːpi/ /ˈkriːpi/ (comparative creepier, superlative creepiest) (informal) causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or slight horror synonym scary a creepy ghost story It's kind of creepy down in the cellar! It feels a bit creepy in here. Topics Feelings c2 Oxford Collocations Dictionary Questions about grammar and vocabulary?