Definition of ghost word in US English:

ghost word


  • A word that is not actually used but is recorded in a dictionary or other reference work.

    • ‘There is a very common ghost word that became well established in our language - a ghost name, to be more accurate.’
    • ‘One of the most exotic of linguistic phenomena, the ghost word, has accidentally acquired a sexual application.’
    • ‘Why not just remove the ghost words if they're not actually content that the dictionary cares to have in it?’