• WordNet 3.6
    • n specter a mental representation of some haunting experience "he looked like he had seen a ghost","it aroused specters from his past"
    • n specter a ghostly appearing figure "we were unprepared for the apparition that confronted us"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Specter (Zoöl) A stick insect.
    • Specter Something preternaturally visible; an apparition; a ghost; a phantom. "The ghosts of traitors from the bridge descend,
      With bold fanatic specters to rejoice."
    • Specter (Zoöl) The tarsius.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n specter A ghostly apparition; a visible incorporeal human spirit; an appearance of the dead as when living. Specters are imagined as disembodied spirits haunting or revisiting the scenes of their mundane life, and showing themselves in intangible form to the living, generally at night, from some overpowering necessity, or for some benevolent or (more usually) malevolent purpose. They are sometimes represented as speaking, but more commonly as only using terrifying or persuasive gestures to induce compliance with their wishes. The word is rarely used for the dissociated soul of a living person.
    • n specter In zoology: One of many names of gressorial orthopterous insects of the family Phasmidæ; a walking-stick or stick-insect; a specter-insect.
    • n specter The specter-bat.
    • n specter The specter-lemur.
    • n specter A specter-shrimp.
    • n specter Synonyms Apparition, Phantom, etc. See ghost.
    • ***


  • Karl Marx
    “A specter is haunting Europe -- the specter of communism.”
  • A. J. P. Taylor
    A. J. P. Taylor
    “The crusade against Communism was even more imaginary than the specter of Communism.”
  • Joseph Conrad
    “How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. spectre, fr. L. spectrum, an appearance, image, specter, fr. specere, to look. See Spy, and cf. Spectrum


In literature:

The desert gave him visions wild, Such as might suit the specter's child.
"Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott
Out of the mist there arose a tall, gaunt specter.
"Peter the Brazen" by George F. Worts
Three-quarters of a mile away the white tents of Custer's camp looked like weird specters in the moonlight.
"Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman" by J. H. (James Harvey) Kidd
And in this lay the germ of a self-pity, which is a specter to be dreaded more than anything else in life.
"The Law-Breakers" by Ridgwell Cullum
The very smile was that of the specter who has no right to come out of hell, and yet has come.
"The Side Of The Angels" by Basil King
The specter on her side of the hearth was trying to keep her lips sealed.
"In the Heart of a Fool" by William Allen White
The gaunt specter is approaching nearer every day!
"A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital" by John Beauchamp Jones
By chance, the smiling landlady's curiosity as to "Fitzroy" raised a new specter.
"Cynthia's Chauffeur" by Louis Tracy
Then the gale sank back to its sustained howling, the snow swirled in denser volume, and the specter vanished.
"The Silent Barrier" by Louis Tracy
All over the town the specter hovered.
"My Lady of the Chimney Corner" by Alexander Irvine
At this moment Gen. Silent arose quite excited, and the strange specter vanished.
"Uncle Daniel's Story Of "Tom" Anderson And Twenty Great Battles" by John McElroy
For she needed to be alone to face the specter which now took shape before her.
"Francezka" by Molly Elliot Seawell
Under the witch-fire glow the intruders moved like specters.
"Red Nails" by Robert E. Howard
Besides, what the man had said made it certain that he did not think the specter was "Ben"; for the specter had "got Ben.
"The Indian Drum" by William MacHarg
There he stands, hovering before me in his white robe like a specter announcing death!
"The Iron Pincers" by Eugène Sue
Specters appeared before her waking eyes and would not be laid.
"On the Heights" by Berthold Auerbach
And I, Kate, was busy nursing and keeping house, with never a moment to spare for the specters which thronged our forest.
"A Man in the Open" by Roger Pocock
And accompanied by Elwig, who, somber and silent, followed me like a specter, I proceeded homeward.
"The Casque's Lark" by Eugène Sue
I felt like I was seeing a specter.
"Life Blood" by Thomas Hoover
The specter of the knives in the walls still haunted him.
"Syndrome" by Thomas Hoover

In poetry:

There are phantoms of sunshiny hours
That fled when the summer time fled,
And specters that mock while they haunt us,
Long buried, but never dead.
"The Ghosts In The Heart" by Madge Morris Wagner
My queen is wan as the Polar snows.
Her host is a rout of specters.
But I gave her Youth like a burning rose,
And her age shall not lack protectors!
"The Retort Discourteous" by Stephen Vincent Benet
No wonder that so many hapless ones,
Too sensitive the specter to defy,
Arm, Hamlet-like, against a sea of woes,
And test the truth, that "it is life to die."
"It Is Life To Die" by Madge Morris Wagner
We are the specters of past years:
But soon Atlantis from the main
Shall lift; and Sappho bring again,
Risen from ancient brine and tears,
The Living Lesbos of past years.
"Amor Hesternalis" by Clark Ashton Smith
And we marked the purple dingles
Where the lazy vapors lolled,
Like thin, fleecy ribs of moonlight
Touched with amethyst and gold;
And we marked the wild deer glimmer
Like dim specters where they strolled....
"Treachery" by Madison Julius Cawein
The whimp'ring creek breaks on the stone;
The new moon came, but now is gone;
White, tingling stars wink out alone.
Lank specter of wet, windy lands,
The melancholy heron stands;
Then, clamoring, dives into the stars.
"The Heron" by Madison Julius Cawein

In news:

The specter of Jimmy Carter is back.
Former US Sen Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania was laid to rest Tuesday following a funeral at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Montgomery County.
President Barack Obama has ordered that US flags around the world be flown at half-staff on Tuesday in honor of former Sen Arlen Specter, who died Sunday at the age of 82.
Arlen Specter dies at 82.
Specter represented Pennsylvania in the US Senate for 30 years but perhaps was best known for his work in the Supreme Court nomination process.
Arlen Specter, who in 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the.
News 8 takes a look back at Arlen Specter's life, legacy.
Former US Sen Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican-turned-Democrat who played a key role in many Supreme Court nominations, has died.
Ex-centrist Specter died fighting for moderation .
Centrist Sen Specter died fighting for moderation .
FILE – In this Monday, March 29, 2010, file photo, Sen Arlen Specter, D-Pa.
His son Shanin Specter says his father died Sunday morning at his home in.
The US Senate will try to resolve a budget deadlock that raises the specter of a government shutdown and threatens aid for thousands of Americans hit by a spate of natural disasters.
Specter was, above all, a survivor.
Former US Sen Specter dies at 82.

In science:

D. Lynden-Bell, M. Nouri-Zonoz “Classical monopoles: Newton, NTU space, gravitation lens and atom specters”, Review Modern Physics, Vol. 70, No. 2, April 1998, p. 421-445.
On the possible physical mechanism of Chernobyl catastrophe and the unsoundness of official conclusion
As we discuss below, altering most of these cuts has little effect on the final result, but this systematic exploration raises the specter of an unconscious fine-tuning to obtain the expected result.
Measurement of \Omega_m, \Omega_{\Lambda} from a blind analysis of Type Ia supernovae with CMAGIC: Using color information to verify the acceleration of the Universe
Identifying the source of the 9.7µm contribution to the absorption feature remains beyond the scope of the present paper, but, needless to say, if it is silicate, the specter of dual chemistry would require seriously rethinking our current models of dust formation around carbon stars.
Silicon carbide absorption features: dust formation in the outflows of extreme carbon stars
When the manifold acquires singularities than the specter becomes continuous.
Ray Singer Analytic Torsion of Calabi Yau manifolds I
The problem is how to relate the specter of the Laplacian with the discriminant locus.
Ray Singer Analytic Torsion of Calabi Yau manifolds I