Etymology
Advertisement
sprite (n.)
c. 1300, "Holy Ghost," from Old French esprit "spirit," from Latin spiritus (see spirit (n.)). From mid-14c. as "immaterial being; angel, demon, elf, fairy; apparition, ghost."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
spook (v.)
1867, "to walk or act like a ghost," from spook (n.). Meaning "to unnerve" is from 1935. Related: Spooked; spooking.
Related entries & more 
spook (n.)

1801, "spectre, apparition, ghost," from Dutch spook, from Middle Dutch spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Germanic source (German Spuk "ghost, apparition," Middle Low German spok "spook," Swedish spok "scarecrow," Norwegian spjok "ghost, specter," Danish spøg "joke"), of unknown origin. According to Klein's sources, possible outside connections include Lettish spigana "dragon, witch," spiganis "will o' the wisp," Lithuanian spingu, spingėti "to shine," Old Prussian spanksti "spark."

Meaning "undercover agent" is attested from 1942. The derogatory racial sense of "black person" is attested from 1940s, perhaps from notion of dark skin being difficult to see at night. Black pilots trained at Tuskegee Institute during World War II called themselves the Spookwaffe.

Related entries & more 
zombie (n.)
1871, of West African origin (compare Kikongo zumbi "fetish;" Kimbundu nzambi "god"), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning "reanimated corpse" in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning "phantom, ghost," from Spanish sombra "shade, ghost." Sense "slow-witted person" is recorded from 1936.
Related entries & more 
gasp (n.)
1570s, from gasp (v.). Earliest attested use is in the phrase last gasp "final breath before dying." To gasp up the ghost "die" is attested from 1530s.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
wraith (n.)
1510s, "ghost," Scottish, of uncertain origin. Weekley and Century Dictionary suggest Old Norse vorðr "guardian" in the sense of "guardian angel." Klein points to Gaelic and Irish arrach "specter, apparition."
Related entries & more 
revenant (n.)

"one who returns," especially after a long absence; "a ghost, one who returns from the dead," 1814 (in "Rosanne" by Laetitia Matilda Hawkins), from French revenant (fem. revenante), noun use of present participle of revenir "to return" (see revenue).

Related entries & more 
bogey (n.1)
World War II aviator slang for "unidentified aircraft, presumably hostile," probably ultimately from bogge, a variant of Middle English bugge "a frightening specter" (see bug (n.)).

Thus it shares ancestry with many dialect words for "ghost, specter," such as bog/bogge (attested 16c.-17c.), bogeyman (16c.), boggart "specter that haunts a gloomy spot" (c. 1570, in Westmoreland, Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire). The earliest modern form appears to be Scottish bogle "ghost," attested from c. 1500 and popularized c. 1800 in English literature by Scott, Burns, etc.
Related entries & more 
larva (n.)

1630s, "a ghost, specter, disembodied spirit" (earlier as larve, c. 1600), from Latin larva (plural larvae), earlier larua "ghost, evil spirit, demon," also "mask," a word from Roman mythology, of unknown origin; de Vaan finds a possible derivation from Lar "tutelary god" (see Lares) "quite attractive semantically."

Crowded out in its original sense by the zoological use (1768) which began with Linnaeus, who applied the word to immature forms of animals that do not resemble, and thus "mask," the adult forms.

On the double sense of the Latin word, Carlo Ginzburg, among other observers of mythology and folklore, has commented on "the well-nigh universal association between masks and the spirits of the dead."

Related entries & more 
umbra (n.)
1590s, "phantom, ghost," a figurative use from Latin umbra "shade, shadow" (see umbrage). Astronomical sense of "shadow cast by the earth or moon during an eclipse" is first recorded 1670s. Meaning "an uninvited guest accompanying an invited one" is from 1690s in English, from a secondary sense among the Romans. Related: Umbral.
Related entries & more 

Page 2