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Definition of wraith

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If you see your own double, you're in trouble, at least if you believe old superstitions. The belief that a ghostly twin's appearance portends death is one common to many cultures. In German folklore, such an apparition is called a Doppelgänger (literally, "double goer"); in Scottish lore, they are wraiths . The exact origin of the word wraith is misty, however, and etymologists can only trace it back to the early 16th century—in particular to a 1513 translation of Virgil's Aeneid by Gavin Douglas (the Scotsman used wraith to name apparitions of both the dead and the living). In current English, wraith has taken on additional, less spooky, meanings; it now often suggests a shadowy—but not necessarily scary—lack of substance.

  • bogie
  • familiar spirit
  • hant [ dialect ]
  • haunt [ chiefly dialect ]
  • materialization
  • fantasm
  • poltergeist
  • spectre

Examples of wraith in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wraith.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

origin unknown

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Cite this Entry

“Wraith.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wraith. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

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Nglish: Translation of wraith for Spanish Speakers

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Meaning of wraith in English

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  • astral plane
  • astral projection
  • incorporeal
  • necromancer
  • reincarnation

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Online Language Dictionaries

  • 1.1 Etymology
  • 1.2 Pronunciation
  • 1.3.1 Derived terms
  • 1.3.2 Translations
  • 1.4 References
  • 1.5 Further reading

English [ edit ]

Etymology [ edit ].

First attested 1513, in a Middle Scots translation of the Aeneid . [1] [2] [3]

The word has no certain etymology. J. R. R. Tolkien favored a link with writhe . Also compared are Scots warth and Old Norse vǫrðr ( “ watcher, guardian ” ) , whence Icelandic vörður ( “ guard ” ) . See also wray / bewray , from Middle English wreien . Perhaps from wrath as a wraith is a vengeful spirit.

Pronunciation [ edit ]

  • enPR : rāth , IPA ( key ) : /ɹeɪθ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪθ

Noun [ edit ]

wraith ( plural wraiths )

  • 1912 February–July, Edgar Rice Burroughs , “Under the Moons of Mars”, in The All-Story , New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co. , →OCLC ; republished as “Sola Tells Me Her Story”, in A Princess of Mars , Chicago, Ill.: A[lexander] C[aldwell] McClurg & Co. , 1917 October, →OCLC , pages 159–160 : We might indeed have been the wraiths of the departed dead upon the dead sea of that dying planet for all the sound or sign we made in passing.
  • 2001 , Joyce Carol Oates , Middle Age: A Romance , paperback edition, Fourth Estate, page 80 : Like wraiths with the impediments of bodies they stumbled in the direction of Salthill faces.

Derived terms [ edit ]

Translations [ edit ], references [ edit ].

  • ^ Gawin Douglas , transl.,(1513), chapter X, in Eneados , lines 81–82: Nor ȝit na vayn wrathys nor gaiſtis quent / Thi char conſtrenyt bakwart forto went Nor yet no vain wraiths nor quaint ghosts / constrained Thy chariot to go backward
  • ^ Gawin Douglas , transl.,(1513), chapter XI, in Eneados , lines 95–96: Syklyke as that, thai ſay, in diuers placis / The wraithis walkis of goiſtis that ar ded Such as that, they say, in diverse places / The wraiths walk of ghosts that are dead
  • ^ Gawin Douglas , transl.,(1513), chapter XI, in Eneados , lines 129–130: Thydder went this wrath or ſchaddo of Ene, / That ſemyt, all abaſyt, faſt to fle Thither went this wraith or shade of Ene, / That seemed, all abased, fast to flee

Further reading [ edit ]

the wraith pronunciation

How to use wraith in a sentence

Even in those without mental illness, temporary changes in brain activity can lead to run-ins with wraiths.

Eulálio ends up being an idol, a wraith who, at 150, is not quite dead and not quite living.

The wraith -like coils that had left the mass above had straightened to sharp spear-heads of speed.

But I could smell the lilacs she had left, and the scent of them seemed like the wraith of her presence in the sunny room.

Like a little wraith miraculously tinted with bronze and blue she stopped and faced him piteously for a second.

Quite true, fair wraith ; but you are not the only ghost at this dance to-night.

Moya faced them tensely, a slim wraith of a girl with dark eyes that blazed.

British Dictionary definitions for wraith

/ ( reɪθ ) /

the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his death

a ghost or any apparition

an insubstantial copy of something

something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke

Derived forms of wraith

  • wraithlike , adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Meanings for wraiths

Appears an image of a ghost before or after the death of someone. 0 rating rating ratings Kellen Rogahn

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Definition of 'wraith'

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wraith in British English

Wraith in american english, examples of 'wraith' in a sentence wraith, trends of wraith.

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Definition of wraith noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

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the wraith pronunciation

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  2. Wraith pronunciation and definition

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  3. How to pronounce the wraith/reɪθ/ sound in American IPA

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COMMENTS

  1. How to pronounce WRAITH in English

    English pronunciation of wraith wraith How to pronounce wraith UK /reɪθ/ US /reɪθ/ More about phonetic symbols Sound-by-sound pronunciation UK /reɪθ/ wraith /r/ as in run /eɪ/ as in day /θ/ as in think US /reɪθ/ wraith /r/ as in run /eɪ/ as in day /θ/ as in think

  2. Wraith Definition & Meaning

    1 a : the exact likeness of a living person seen usually just before death as an apparition b : ghost, specter 2 : an insubstantial form or semblance : shadow 3 : a barely visible gaseous or vaporous column wraithlike ˈrāth-ˌlīk adjective Did you know? If you see your own double, you're in trouble, at least if you believe old superstitions.

  3. How To Pronounce Wraith

    230K subscribers Subscribe 12K views 8 years ago Learn how to pronounce Wraith This is the American English pronunciation of the word Wraith.

  4. How to pronounce wraith

    Pronunciation of wraith with 3 audio pronunciations 1 rating -28 rating -100 rating International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) IPA : reɪθ Record the pronunciation of this word in your own voice and play it to listen to how you have pronounced it. Can you pronounce this word better or pronounce in different accent or variation ?

  5. How to pronounce wraith

    0:00 / 0:35 How to pronounce wraith | British English and American English pronunciation Cambridge Dictionary 33.4K subscribers Subscribe Share 1.3K views 1 year ago Learn how to pronounce...

  6. wraith noun

    /reɪθ/ the ghost of a person that is seen a short time before or after that person dies synonym spectre a wraith-like figure (= a very thin, pale person) Word Origin Definitions on the go Look up any word in the dictionary offline, anytime, anywhere with the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app.

  7. WRAITH

    incubus necromancer necromancy possessed reincarnation soul spectrally spook succubus séance wight zombie See more results » You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics: Weakness and vulnerability (Definition of wraith from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

  8. Wraith definition in American English

    All rights reserved. Derived forms wraithlike (ˈwraithlike) adjective Word origin Scot, earlier warth, guardian angel < ON vǫrthr, guardian < vartha, to ward, guard: for IE base see ward Word Frequency wraith in American English (reiθ) noun 1. an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death 2. a visible spirit

  9. How to Pronounce wraith

    Meta description: Hear the pronunciation of wraith in American English, spoken by real native speakers. From North America's leading language experts, Britannica Dictionary

  10. wraith

    wraith - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. All Free. ... wraith (rāth), USA pronunciation n. an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death. a visible spirit. 1505-15; originally Scots; origin, originally uncertain;

  11. wraith

    Noun [ edit] wraith ( plural wraiths ) A ghost or specter, especially a person's likeness seen just after their death . Synonyms: see Thesaurus: ghost. 1912 February-July, Edgar Rice Burroughs, "Under the Moons of Mars", in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., →OCLC; republished as "Sola Tells Me Her Story", in A ...

  12. How to pronounce wraith

    Learn how to say Wraith in English correctly with TextToSpeech.io free pronunciation tutorials. American & British English pronunciation of male & female voi...

  13. Wraith Definition & Meaning

    What does PAPADUM mean? a light, brittle flatbread from South Asia, usually made of lentil flour. a street musician or performer. faithlessness; treachery. TAKE THE QUIZ TO FIND OUT Origin of wraith 1 First recorded in 1505-15; originally Scots; origin uncertain Other words from wraith wraithlike, adjective Words that may be confused with wraith

  14. How to pronounce the wraith/reɪθ/ sound in American IPA

    Learn how to pronounce wraith . For more pronunciation lessons, please go to https://stavira.com/. To download the Android app, please visit: https://play....

  15. Wraith

    1. (Alternative Belief Systems) the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his death 2. (Alternative Belief Systems) a ghost or any apparition 3. an insubstantial copy of something 4. something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke [C16: Scottish, of unknown origin]

  16. Wraith Pronunciation

    "Pronunciation of the Word "Wraith". Learn how to pronounce the Word "Wraith". A Word a day Helps you build your vocabulary. When you Learn a new Word, try to use it in ...more ...more...

  17. How to pronounce wraiths

    How to say wraiths in English? Pronunciation of wraiths with 1 audio pronunciation, 1 meaning, 11 translations, 6 sentences and more for wraiths.

  18. How to Pronounce Wraith

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  19. How To Pronounce The Wraith: The Wraith pronunciation

    How To Pronounce The Wraith: The Wraith pronunciation pronouncekiwi - How To Pronounce The Wraith pronouncekiwi Listen to the pronunciation of The Wraith and learn how to pronounce The Wraith correctly. Start Free Trial Have a better pronunciation ? Upload it here to share it with the entire community. How To Pronounce The Wraith

  20. Wraith definition and meaning

    1. the apparition of a person living or thought to be alive, supposed to appear around the time of his or her death 2. a ghost or any apparition 3. an insubstantial copy of something 4. something pale, thin, and lacking in substance, such as a column of smoke Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers Derived forms

  21. wraith noun

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