Definition of phantom in US English:

phantom

noun

  • 1A ghost.

    ‘a phantom who haunts lonely roads’
    as modifier ‘a phantom ship’
    figurative ‘the centrist and conservative parties were mere phantoms in 1943’
    • ‘Then, in a room filled with Halloween images of ghosts and phantoms, Duncan Smith got his chance to show his hidden talents - at the pool table.’
    • ‘Cigarette smoked choked the fresh, crisp night air like a phantom descending upon its haunt.’
    • ‘Loosely based on an old Montreal myth about a phantom ship and a shadowy captain (according to the poorly translated English press release), the maze is made up of five connected game zones.’
    • ‘Four fearless women are preparing to spend the night in the company of ghosts, ghouls and phantoms to raise money for the Abbeyfield care home where they work.’
    • ‘The State Tourist Department can arrange for a sightseeing trip for the female ghost of the old city and phantoms in Banjara Hills.’
    • ‘It is like a medieval, deserted castle that is full of phantoms and ghosts, and this makes you feel sick - you just want to run away, far from these cold, scary walls.’
    • ‘But the phantoms of the evil ones haunted this particular hallway on Floor 13, making it an abandoned site.’
    • ‘His face is distorted, making him look like a phantom haunting a ruin.’
    • ‘He was crying out to ghost pedestrians, phantoms incapable of reacting in any other way but unbridled fear.’
    • ‘Strange phantoms haunt this room day and night.’
    • ‘Lanser Hall was one of the oldest dorms and laboratories on campus and hadn't been used due to the rumor of a phantom that haunted them.’
    • ‘The experienced earth lends something of its atmosphere to every world that we can conceive, and hence haunts these other worlds like a phantom.’
    • ‘The Han Wei became a phantom ship after pirates seized it on March 15 on a voyage from Singapore to Rangoon.’
    • ‘Creoles speak of a phantom pirate ship seen at night, lit by flickering lanterns.’
    • ‘This time out, the author collects some chilling accounts of coal mine ghosts, phantoms.’
    • ‘A few years later, two more British sailors saw the phantom ship as they sailed around the cape.’
    • ‘Science is first and foremost a recognition that the objective world of nature is comprehensible on its own terms, without recourse to phantoms, spirits or inexplicable forces.’
    • ‘Gerry and Cynthia Bridgwood are being spooked by a phantom benefactor - who spirits gifts of bric-a-brac into their Cheshire country pub.’
    • ‘She was haunting him, like a phantom in the night.’
    • ‘The young man in question slowly emerged form the pitch-black shadows of the closet as eerily as a phantom.’
    ghost, apparition, spirit, spectre, wraith, shadow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A figment of the imagination.
      ‘he tried to clear the phantoms from his head and grasp reality’
      as modifier ‘the women suffered from phantom pain that no physician could ever find’
      • ‘The Tory revival is a phantom, the imagined product of a media despairing of another utterly predictable election result.’
      • ‘As we said before, the brand is a phantom, a cypher, figments of the popular imagination that have somehow become the essential conduit for cultural information about objects.’
      • ‘While his mind had been pursuing its intangible phantoms and turning in irresolution from such pursuit he had heard about him the constant voices of his father and of his masters, urging him to be a gentleman above all things.’
      • ‘At long last, when each felt assured that the other was real, and not some phantom of imagination, their lips parted.’
      • ‘It was total voyeurism, and several people who were on the show had trouble afterwards adjusting to the fact that their fame was illusory - a deceiving phantom.’
      • ‘I said in my previous letter that I felt that somewhere, in the deep recesses of his mind, there may be the merest phantom of a thought that I might be right.’
      • ‘But, alas, like all conjured foes, the biblical piety contained in his book is a mere phantom of the real thing.’
      figment of the imagination, delusion, hallucination, illusion, chimera, vision, fantasy, mirage
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2as modifier Denoting a financial arrangement or transaction that has been invented for fraudulent purposes but that does not really exist.
      ‘he diverted an estimated $1,500,000 into “phantom” bank accounts’
      • ‘But there's an easier way to avoid phantom interest that will also provide you with some financial security.’
      • ‘Like stock options, phantom stock must be expensed throughout its vesting period.’
      • ‘This problem of built-in gains is related to another phenomenon: phantom year-end income.’
      • ‘He also swore a financial statement, which indicated that he had phantom stock units and stock options.’
      • ‘The only difference is that when you deal in phantom money, you also earn phantom profits, but imagine the new horizons this experience must have opened up for many a team member.’
      • ‘A common practice in retailing mined diamond jewelry is to use phantom prices and then show impressive discounts in an effort to lure buyers.’

Origin

Middle English (also in the sense ‘illusion, delusion’): from Old French fantosme, based on Greek phantasma (see phantasm).

Pronunciation

phantom

/ˈfæn(t)əm//ˈfan(t)əm/