Etymology
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specter (n.)

c. 1600, "frightening ghost," from French spectre "an image, figure, ghost" (16c.), from Latin spectrum "appearance, vision, apparition" (see spectrum). Figurative sense "object of dread" is from 1774.

updated on November 05, 2013

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Definitions of specter from WordNet

specter (n.)
a mental representation of some haunting experience;
it aroused specters from his past
Synonyms: ghost / shade / spook / wraith / spectre
specter (n.)
a ghostly appearing figure;
Synonyms: apparition / phantom / phantasm / phantasma / fantasm / spectre
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.