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a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, especially a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith: a ghostly apparition at midnight.

anything that appears , especially something remarkable or startling: the surprising apparition of cowboys in New York City.

an act of appearing ; manifestation.

Astronomy . the appearance or time when a comet, especially a periodic one, is visible: the 1986 apparition of Halley's comet.

Origin of apparition

Synonym study for apparition, other words for apparition, other words from apparition.

  • ap·pa·ri·tion·al, adjective
  • non·ap·pa·ri·tion·al, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use apparition in a sentence

Wonders, apparitions, and miracles also formed a core component of European news broadsheets.

Once word of the apparitions spread, visitors began to come from all corners of the world.

In the middle of the courtyard, where the public apparitions took place, a large shrine is encircled by benches.

The public apparitions stopped in late 1989, when Alphonsine announced she was told that Mary would no longer appear publicly.

To opponents of the government, the apparitions and exotic-sounding rhetoric is anything but comic.

It appears to be the opinion of the advocates of apparitions that naughty ghosts have cold hands.

But this is not the only "unlucky dog" that has been terrified by apparitions; several instances are given in different works.

In such a state, no doubt the poor creatures imagine that they see apparitions.

In these various stories are seen spontaneous apparitions and appearances which were provoked, so to speak, by the will.

But in spite of this appeal and of a pact signed with the blood of the writer, no Satanic apparitions were forthcoming.

British Dictionary definitions for apparition

/ ( ˌæpəˈrɪʃən ) /

an appearance, esp of a ghost or ghostlike figure

the figure so appearing; phantom; spectre

the act of appearing or being visible

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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Definition of apparition noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • Apparitions of a woman in white robes have been reported.

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Nearby words

  • 1.1 Etymology
  • 1.2 Pronunciation
  • 1.3.1 Synonyms
  • 1.3.2 Related terms
  • 1.3.3 Translations
  • 2.1 Etymology
  • 2.2 Pronunciation
  • 2.3.1 Derived terms
  • 2.4 Further reading

English [ edit ]

Etymology [ edit ].

From Middle French apparition , from Latin apparitio , from appareo .

Pronunciation [ edit ]

  • ( UK ) IPA ( key ) : /ˌæp.əɹˈɪʃn̩/

Noun [ edit ]

apparition ( plural apparitions )

  • 1855–1858 , William H[ickling] Prescott , History of the Reign of Philip the Second , King of Spain , volumes (please specify |volume=I to III) , Boston, Mass.: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, →OCLC : the sudden apparition of the Spaniards
  • 1814 July 7, [Walter Scott ], Waverley;   [ … ] , volumes (please specify |volume=I to III) , Edinburgh:   [ … ] James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co. ; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown , →OCLC : The apparition of Lawyer Clippurse occasioned much speculation in that portion of the world.
  • 1709 August 27 (Gregorian calendar), Isaac Bickerstaff [ et al. , pseudonyms; Richard Steele et al. ], “Tuesday, August 16, 1709”, in The Tatler , number 55 ; republished in [ Richard Steele ], editor, The Tatler,   [ … ] , London stereotype edition, volume I, London: I. Walker and Co.;   [ … ] , 1822 , →OCLC : [ … ] which apparition , it seems, was you.
  • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare , “ The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar ”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies   [ … ] ( First Folio ), London: [ … ] Isaac Iaggard , and Ed [ ward ] Blount , published 1623 , →OCLC , [Act IV, scene iii]: I think it is the weakness of mine eyes / That shapes this monstrous apparition .
  • 1667 , John Milton , “Book X”, in Paradise Lost.   [ … ] , London: [ … ] [ Samuel Simmons ],   [ … ] , →OCLC ; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books:   [ … ] , London: Basil Montagu Pickering   [ … ] , 1873 , →OCLC : The heavenly bands [ … ] a glorious apparition .
  • 1982 , Douglas Adams , Life, the Universe and Everything , page 24 : The apparition wobbled in front of Arthur's eyes, though the truth of the matter is probably that Arthur's eyes were wobbling in front of the apparition .
  • ( astronomy ) The first appearance of a star or other luminary after having been invisible or obscured; opposed to occultation .
  • ( astronomy ) A period of consecutive days or nights when a particular celestial body may be observed, beginning with the heliacal rising of the body and ending with its heliacal setting.

Synonyms [ edit ]

  • ( act of becoming visible ) : appearance
  • ( a preternatural appearance ) : vision
  • See also Thesaurus:ghost

Related terms [ edit ]

Translations [ edit ], french [ edit ].

From Latin appāritiōnem .

  • IPA ( key ) : /a.pa.ʁi.sjɔ̃/

apparition   f ( plural apparitions )

  • ghost Synonym: fantôme
  • ( baseball ) plate appearance Synonyms: apparition au bâton , présence , présence au bâton

Derived terms [ edit ]

  • faire son apparition

Further reading [ edit ]

  • “ apparition ”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [ Digitized Treasury of the French Language ] , 2012.

definition with apparition

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take something at face value

to accept something as it appears to be rather than studying it more closely

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Synonyms of apparitions

  • as in spirits
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Thesaurus Definition of apparitions

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • materializations
  • poltergeists
  • familiar spirits
  • doppelgangers
  • doppelgängers

Thesaurus Entries Near apparitions


Cite this Entry

“Apparitions.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/apparitions. Accessed 14 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on apparitions

Nglish: Translation of apparitions for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apparitions for Arabic Speakers

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synonyms for apparition

  • hallucination
  • bump in the night

See also synonyms for: apparitional apparitions

antonyms for apparition

Most relevant

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

How to use apparition in a sentence

My van, Gizmo, shook violently as I traversed the sixteen-mile washboard road up to Mowich Lake, Rainier hovering like an apparition on the horizon.

The superb list of guest stars includes Bowen Yang, Vanessa Williams, John Slattery and Fey herself, appearing, incredibly, as an apparition of Dolly Parton.

Petrie repeatedly refers to Elefantin as an apparition , a revenant, an illusion.

Rogue waves are sea ghosts, terrifying apparitions that arise without warning.

During our drive home from dinner, an apparition of a yellow deer appears to me, seeming to float in the air over the Cullinan’s massive bonnet.

And then Further is gone, back on the road, like a time-traveling relic from another era or an apparition of Jerry Garcia.

Mukamazimpaka also last reported seeing an apparition in 1989.

It will be far more consequential than the weird apparition of the gun–crazed rocker Ted Nugent at the State of the Union.

And the president has to be himself too, not the sudden apparition of an inauthentic pol.

His challenge to use this week to cast the race as between two flesh-and-blood men, not the apparition of 2008.

Terrified with this apparition , he consulted several friends, who advised him to take the advice.

This apparition lasted some eight minutes, and as soon as it disappeared another came of the same form, direction and appearance.

The lions stopped also, being evidently taken by surprise at the sudden and unexpected apparition of a man!

Yet, the harder I stared the clearer appeared the amazing and monstrous apparition .

Humanity shut its eyes in view of the hideous apparition of wan and haggard beggary and crime.

Choose the synonym for steep

  • precipitous

Words Related To apparition

  • evil spirit
  • deceptiveness
  • false impression
  • fool's paradise
  • ignis fatuus
  • misapprehension
  • optical illusion
  • self-deception
  • speciousness
  • spuriousness


  • air castles
  • apparitions
  • appearances
  • conceivings
  • envisionings
  • externalizings
  • fabrications
  • flight of imaginations
  • fool's paradises
  • hallucinations
  • imaginativenesses
  • objectifies
  • originality
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  • All About Mary

Basics on Apparitions

– Father Johann G. Roten, S.M. Apparitions are a widespread Marian phenomenon. Wholeheartedly hailed and embraced by some, apparitions are out-rightly rejected by others. Emotions and irrational behavior play an important role in both instances. A cautious and balanced approach would seem necessary and appropriate.

We propose the following guidelines in dealing with apparitions.


Receptiveness and caution Be cautious believing in apparitions, in general and by principle. - This means: A critical assessment of particular events is needed - We should gratefully recognize God’s freedom to speak and manifest Himself as He pleases, how and when He pleases.

We should never forget that Christianity is based on - Epiphany (manifestation of God): the partial and visual disclosure of the Trinity in Jesus Christ, the Spirit and the Church - God’s own initiative: Apparitions can be an expression of God’s free and loving decision to make Himself visible to us in a mediated way, as for example in Mary .

Freedom to believe and spiritual riches We do not have to believe in apparitions. They do not have a binding character, not even those recognized by the Church. Why is that so?

- Apparitions are not a part of God’s self-revelation to the whole people of God as we find it in Jesus Christ or in Sacred Scripture. - Apparitions are private revelations: a personal message, received and communicated in a personal way.

Apparitions recognized by the Church, especially, offer support and encouragement for our spiritual life. We need all the friends (of God) we can get: Why not take advantage of the spiritual capital contained in messages, signs, and examples of prayer and personal conversion?


Let us examine the common characteristics of a known and recognized apparition, that of Guadalupe (Mexico) which took place from December 9-12, 1531. Guadalupe is considered the first apparition of modern times. It is also one of the first Marian apparitions which occasioned the foundation of a sanctuary of permanent influence, national and worldwide.

Read the following short description of the event and note the italicized expressions.

On Saturday, December 9, 1531, according the the received tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, a recently converted Indian, on the hill of Tepeyac, where the Indians venerated the goddess Tonantzin. Mary spoke the Nahatl language (as she later spoke the Patois dialect of Bernadette); she sent Juan Diego to ask the bishop of Mexico to erect a sanctuary at the foot of this hill. The Indian went to Topetlac, the colonizing city where the bishop and the government of the Conquistadores were located. Juan de Zumarraga, the founder of the diocese, a Franciscan, named but not yet consecrated, avoided the request of the little man whom even the servants disdained. However, after the fourth apparition, on December 15, the Virgin gave signs. After the cure of the uncle of the visionary, she sent the Indian to carry to the bishop a bouquet of flowers from this barren site of Tepeyac. He carried them in his tilma (a mantle woven from the fibers of maguey) and placed them before the prelate. At this point, according to the tradition, there appeared in the interior of the mantle the image of the Virgin miraculously produced, the same that is venerated today in the sanctuary.

The following aspects are important:

The historical context - Time of Spanish colonization (opposition: Indians-Spaniards; church part of colonizing power) - Hill of Tepeyac (formerly devoted to goddess Tonantzin)

The apparition (Mary) identifies - Virgin Mary calls herself as mother of the true God from whom all life comes - Speaks Nahatle (local dialect) - Gives a message - Gives signs - Reproduction of the Virgin’s image on the tilma

The seer/visionary - Recently converted Indian (fifty - seven years old) - Little man, whom the servants disdain - Confrontation with Spanish authority (Church) - Carries a message and tangible proof

The message - Reference to the true God: God of Life - To erect a sanctuary at the foot of this hill

The signs - Cure of the uncle of the visionary - Roses from the barren site of Tepeyac - Tilma bears the image of Mary

The number of apparitions December 9-12, 1531 (five apparitions)

The reactions - Initial opposition, subsequent controversy, and finally recognition - Foundation of sanctuary of permanent influence

General characteristics - Importance of the historical and sociological context:

There often exists a certain correlation between Marian apparitions and specific historical situations (1870, 1917, 1932-33) or special human needs (material and/or religious).

The "apparition" (meaning Mary) is perceived in categories of beauty (light, ethereal qualities, splendor), difficult to describe. Little by little the typical image of a given apparition is developed by painters–thanks to the description of the visionaries.

Frequently, Mary gives a description or self-definition of herself: - Guadalupe: Mother of the true God from whom all life comes. - Lourdes: Immaculate Conception - La Salette: Our Lady of Sorrows - Fatima: Our Lady of the Rosary


Mary is the "ultimate facilitator" in the service of the one mediator. This is illustrated in her apparition to Gregory the Wonderworker (270/275) as reported by Gregory of Nyssa (PG 10, 984-988). Mary is teacher of the Church: she expounds the mystery of faith.

The visionaries of the so-called classical apparitions (1830-1933) are mostly young and poor: - Miraculous Medal: Catherine Labouré, 24 - La Salette: Maximin Giraud, 11 and Mélanie Calvet, 15 - Lourdes: Bernadette Soubirious, 14 - Pontmain: Joseph Barbedette, 10, Eugène Barbedette, 12, Françoise Richer, 11 and Jeanne-Marie Lebossé, 9

The profile of visionaries in more recent apparitions is more diversified. Varying from case to case, the visionaries are children, adolescents and adults, men and women, single and married. It is a scriptural fact that God speaks with preference to the little and poor, meaning those who readily accept his word and do not oppose it. A visionary is not infallible. His/her perception may be limited or partially erroneous.

In general, messages have a dual function:

- The permanent function: The permanent function is to reawaken faith and to bring about a return to God, to prayer and to fasting. It is a return to the introductory chapters of the gospel, to the preaching of John the Baptist for conversion and the baptism of repentance.These messages are repetitive. There are those who have criticized their banality; but this is normal–they have an educational function and education always requires repetition.

- The prophetic impact: Other messages are marked in varying degrees by their prophetic impact. In 1531 Our Lady of Guadalupe reminded the conquering Spaniards that in the eyes of God an Indian is equal to a Spaniard and can take messages from heaven to the bishop. Rue du Bac reminded a desolate world of the closeness of heaven; it was a world which the French Revolution had dechristianized. There are new aspects in today’s messages. The prophetic impact of the messages associated with recent apparitions is new when compared to Rue du Bac, La Salette, Lourdes, etc. They underline evangelization (most explicitly at Cuapa, Kibeho, and Damascus) and ecumenism (Zeitoun, Egypt) and remind us of the

Frequently, apparitions are accompanied by signs: - the rose miracle of Guadalupe - the wellspring at Lourdes - the miracle of the sun in Fatima Signs are not an integral part of the apparition, and thus not indispensable. They are not included in the potential recognition of an apparition. Concerning the miracle of the sun at Fatima: No observatory knew anything about it, and the canonical judgement of the bishop was silent on this point. Signs, however, have a corroborating function. Healings and/or extraordinary natural phenomena help to overcome skepticism and hesitation. Signs should not obstruct the understanding of the deeper meaning of apparitions.

The number of apparitions within the same event (for example, Lourdes) can vary greatly, ranging from a single apparition at the Rue du bac (1830) to daily apparitions for fourteen years in Medjugorje. Some examples: - Pontmain, 1 - Fatima, 6 - Beauraing, 33 - Banneux, 8

The reactions to an alleged apparitions must be assessed on two levels; - The level of devotional expression: the reaction of the faithful, their curiosity and piety, makes an apparition known. It is very often the spontaneous occasion for devotional expression (prayer, conversion, healing), and may lead to an official recognition of this devotional expression. - The recognition of the event is much slower to come and lies in the hands of the ecclesiastical authority.


Two phases: - recognition of devotional expression, habitually at the site of the apparitions - recognition of the event (with alleged supernatural character) Careful and negative wording taking into account the following methodology: - Absence of elements opposing or contradicting faith and/or morals - Absence of elements which could prevent the publication of events and the authorization of a public cult - Determining whether there are sufficient arguments of natural/rational order (as for any other historical event), so that the possibility/probability of a supernatural causality (meaning supernatural intervention or manifestation) can be reasonably assumed and accepted in faith. Important distinctions: - Approval of devotion does not include the recognition of the apparition as such. - Even in its approval of the apparition, the Church does not intend to give an infallible guarantee as to the supernatural origin of the apparition.


- Sufficiency of information (for example, Grouchero, Ukraine) - Orthodoxy (conformity with faith and morals) - Transparency (do apparitions lead us to God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, to the service of God and humanity, and to the promotion of faith?) - Serious reasons for believing in the presence of the hand of God manifested by cures, conversions and other miracles - Expert opinion (various disciplines, especially doctors and psychiatrists) - Do these apparitions bear good fruit? - Is the Church authority favorable or unfavorable?


Apparitions are neither the classical ways to God’s self-communication nor even remotely the most important ones. Any sacrament of the Church is an infinitely safer conductor of the supernatural than apparitions.Nonetheless, apparitions remind us that Christianity is a religious tradition based on mediation always. God is not immediately present, but He gives himself to be shared. He entrusts Himself or His message to Mary, who in turn entrusts this same message to the visionary who passes it on to a multitude of people, mostly pilgrims. These again share the message with others.This is the very anatomy of revelation, not just the ephemeral strategy of an apparition.The following conclusions can be drawn:

Through apparitions God challenges us immediately, in a direct and head-on way, not through a book passed down through the centuries or in and through liturgical routine.God remains the visible and invisible God, entrusting Himself to Mary and the visionaries.His message is thus confided to fragile carriers:Its communication is based on receiving, assimilating, passing onIt is and remains a gift to the community of His believers and friends.

Incarnation and eschatology, meaning that we live in the presence of the eternal but with both our feet on the ground, looks and sounds like "mission impossible." Again, apparitions can help to achieve a living synthesis between the incarnational and the eschatological dimensions of our life. Visionaries are such living syntheses. Not so much by virtue of their personal spiritual merits, but because they are embodying – simultaneously this child or housewife or factory worker and this privileged human being touched visibly by an extraordinary grace of God.That is the reason why–where incarnation and eschatology come together–apparitions can and should teach us a deeper understanding of mystery, that is to say the intimate relation between the visible and the invisible, the natural and the supernatural, God’s presence and transcendence; especially and essentially mystery means the experience of his ever greater love for us.

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with [email protected] .

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Definition of 'apparition'

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Apparition in british english, examples of 'apparition' in a sentence apparition, related word partners apparition, trends of apparition.

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  1. Apparition Definition & Meaning

    noun ap· pa· ri· tion ˌa-pə-ˈri-shən Synonyms of apparition 1 a : an unusual or unexpected sight : phenomenon strange apparitions in the sky b : a ghostly figure reported seeing ghostly apparitions in the old house 2 : the act of becoming visible : appearance the apparition of sunlight through the window apparitional ˌa-pə-ˈri-sh (ə-)nəl adjective

  2. APPARITION Definition & Usage Examples

    noun a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, especially a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith: a ghostly apparition at midnight. anything that appears, especially something remarkable or startling: the surprising apparition of cowboys in New York City. an act of appearing; manifestation.


    something you believe, imagine, or dream you see, esp. the form of a person; ghost (Definition of apparition from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press) Examples of apparition apparition


    something you believe, imagine, or dream you see, esp. the form of a person; ghost (Definition of apparition from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press) Examples of apparition apparition

  5. APPARITION definition and meaning

    An apparition is someone you see or think you see but who is not really there as a physical being. [formal] The patient recognized one of the women as the apparition she had seen. ...these apparitions of the Virgin. Synonyms: ghost, spirit, shade [literary], phantom More Synonyms of apparition Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

  6. Apparition

    apparition: 1 n a ghostly appearing figure "we were unprepared for the apparition that confronted us" Synonyms: fantasm , phantasm , phantasma , phantom , specter , spectre Types: Flying Dutchman the captain of a phantom ship (the Flying Dutchman) who was condemned to sail against the wind until Judgment Day Type of: disembodied spirit , ...

  7. Apparition Definition & Meaning

    noun a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, especially a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith: a ghostly apparition at midnight. anything that appears, especially something remarkable or startling: the surprising apparition of cowboys in New York City. an act of appearing; manifestation.

  8. Apparition Definition & Meaning

    apparition /ˌæpə ˈ rɪʃən/ noun. plural apparitions. Britannica Dictionary definition of APPARITION. [count] formal. : a ghost or spirit of a dead person. People say there are ghostly apparitions [= ghosts, phantoms] in this house. a strange apparition.

  9. apparition noun

    noun /ˌæpəˈrɪʃn/ /ˌæpəˈrɪʃn/ a ghost or a ghost-like image of a person who is dead Apparitions of a woman in white robes have been reported. Word Origin Take your English to the next level The Oxford Learner's Thesaurus explains the difference between groups of similar words. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app

  10. apparition

    The apparition of Lawyer Clippurse occasioned much speculation in that portion of the world. The thing appearing; a visible object; a form. [ …] which apparition, it seems, was you. An unexpected, wonderful, or preternatural appearance; especially something such as a ghost or phantom .

  11. Apparition

    Define apparition. apparition synonyms, apparition pronunciation, apparition translation, English dictionary definition of apparition. n. 1. A ghostly figure; a specter. 2. A sudden or unusual sight: " indoor-outdoor reversals and juxtapositions call forth a Magritte apparition beneath a...

  12. Apparition Definition & Meaning

    Anything that appears unexpectedly or in an extraordinary way. Webster's New World A sudden or unusual sight. American Heritage A phantom or ghost. Webster's New World The act of appearing; appearance. American Heritage More Noun Definitions (5) Synonyms: phasm oni idolum duppy masan shadow phantasma fantasm phantasm phantom

  13. apparition

    apparition meaning: a ghost. Learn more. {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{#message}}

  14. apparition

    noun [ C ] literary uk / ˌæp ə rˈɪʃ ə n / us Add to word list a ghost (Definition of apparition from the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press) Translations of apparition in Chinese (Traditional) 鬼,鬼魂,幽靈… See more in Chinese (Simplified) 鬼,鬼魂,幽灵… See more in Spanish aparición, Aparición… See more in Portuguese aparição…

  15. Apparition

    Apparitional experience, an anomalous, quasi-perceptual experience. A vision, something seen in a dream, trance, or religious ecstasy. Ghost, the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living. Doppelgänger, the ghostly double of a living person.

  16. APPARITION Synonyms: 51 Similar Words

    noun Definition of apparition as in ghost the soul of a dead person thought of especially as appearing to living people an eccentric who claimed to have photographed an apparition in her very own house Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance ghost spirit phantom spectre specter materialization poltergeist wraith phantasm vision demon haunt visitant

  17. APPARITIONS Synonyms: 53 Similar Words

    Definition of apparitions plural of apparition as in spirits the soul of a dead person thought of especially as appearing to living people an eccentric who claimed to have photographed an apparition in her very own house Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance spirits ghosts visions shadows spectres phantoms specters materializations poltergeists

  18. 20 Synonyms & Antonyms for APPARITION

    Find 20 different ways to say APPARITION, along with antonyms, related words, and example sentences at Thesaurus.com.

  19. How To Use "Apparition" In A Sentence: Exploring The Term

    An apparition is a noun that refers to the appearance or manifestation of something or someone that is not physically present or visible. It is often associated with the supernatural or the paranormal, where it is believed to be a ghostly or spectral phenomenon.

  20. Examples of "Apparition" in a Sentence

    apparition Meanings Synonyms Sentences Suddenly, a terrifying apparition appeared. 36 6 A ghostly apparition of a woman has been seen near the tracks in the evening. 14 5 In one example, a person enters a dark doorway, turns a corner and there's an apparition immediately approaching the camera. 16 7

  21. Apparitions, Basic Information : University of Dayton, Ohio

    - Apparitions are private revelations: a personal message, received and communicated in a personal way. Apparitions recognized by the Church, especially, offer support and encouragement for our spiritual life.

  22. APPARITION definition in American English

    noun 1. a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, esp. a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith a ghostly apparition at midnight 2. anything that appears, esp. something remarkable or startling the surprising apparition of cowboys in New York City 3. an act of appearing; manifestation