Printable Version
Pronunciation: æp-êr-ri-shên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A ghost, specter, phantom, phantasmagoric hallucination. 2. An unusual, unreal, and unexpected sight. 3. Appearance, the act of appearing or seeming to appear.

Notes: This near synonym of ghost is more loosely defined than ghost, referring to the seeming appearance of things and beings. The adjective is apparitional.

In Play: Apparition is closely related semantically to ghost: "The old house that Rodney bought seems to have an apparition that disagrees with him on the question of hose ownership." It may, however, conjure up an unusual vision, real or unreal: "Donald found himself talking to an apparition of his wife for months after her passing."

Word History: Today's Good Word was snatched from Late Latin apparitio(n) "appearance", the noun for apparere "to appear, become visible". The present participle of this word is apparen(t)s, which English "borrowed" for its apparent. English also came by appear from the same Latin verb after a bit of French remodeling. The Latin word is made up of an assimilated form of ad "(up) to" + parere "to be visible, to show". Latin came by this root from Proto-Indo-European per- "to bring forth, produce, to give birth". The present participle of this word is paren(t)s, borrowed by English as parent. We also find this root in the English borrowings prepare and pare, how we bring forth the edible parts of fruits and vegetables. (Now, yet another bow to the Anna Jung for sharing such a hauntingly Good Word as today's with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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