Definition of revenant in US English:



  • A person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

    • ‘In parts of south-eastern and central Europe, the experience also has associations with revenants and members of the living dead such as the vampire.’
    • ‘In one of them, two shamans argue about who is the strongest, in another, they argue about inflicting evil on another person in the form of revenants as revenge for grievances, and in a third, about killing with poison.’
    • ‘It is squarely in the tradition of Japanese ghost stories, where revenants deal out cruel and inexplicable vengeance for obscure reasons.’
    • ‘At a couple of points he mentions how in Protestant realms the dead were transformed into dangerous, marginal figures, yet he does not pursue this theme to see how it may have related to fear of revenants or nocturnal witch sabbaths.’
    • ‘He heard the despair in her voice, as if she was willing the revenants of her loved ones to rise from the icy grave and join her in the realm of the living.’
    • ‘She has interpreted some stories in her repertoire in accordance with her Christian faith, notably stories about revenants, evil spirits, and magic.’
    • ‘Due to the circumstances of their possible deaths, arguably, these women are indeed revenants, even though for most of the novel, they are as static as their Ruby neighbors.’
    • ‘The most immediately striking feature of both sets of tales is that all William's revenants and many of those at Byland are not ghosts in the usual sense of that word but ‘walking dead,’ corpses that have literally emerged from their graves.’
    • ‘She also thinks that people who have lived an indecent, ungodly life are prone to experience ghosts and revenants.’
    • ‘He looked so baffled and afraid that she knew immediately that he was used to dealing with fledglings and revenants.’
    • ‘Finding nothing comparable in older historians, he concluded that such revenants were a feature peculiar to his own times, and commented that he could have cited many more instances if he had wanted to.’
    • ‘Michael Burkard's latest book - full of revenants, revisitations, and regrets - is similarly lingering and resonant.’
    • ‘Now the revenants have gained fame again in the cult TV programme ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.’
    • ‘On the other hand, vampires and werewolves are allocated an entry, and so are revenants, on the basis of Scandinavian material.’
    • ‘Yisrael Medad asks that we call the Jewish settlers in the West Bank revenants, as befits ‘persons who have returned after a long hiatus to their ancestral homes’.’
    • ‘On the other hand, revenants genuinely accepted as the spirits of the dead also appeared.’
    • ‘The principal themes of Holland's fiction writing have been vampires, revenants, and creative anachronism.’
    • ‘So a revenant returns only to steal away again with another?’
    • ‘For instance, long fingernails, or sometimes no nails at all, are characteristic of vampires, revenants, and other beings of ‘undead’ status.’
    • ‘Comedies about revenants are a relatively recent English subgenre.’
    apparition, spectre, phantom, hallucination, ghost, wraith, shadow, manifestation, chimera, illusion, mirage, image
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Early 19th century: French, literally ‘coming back’, present participle (used as a noun) of revenir.