Meaning of “phantom” in the English Dictionary

"phantom" in British English

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phantomnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈfæn.təm/ us /ˈfæn.t̬əm/

a spirit of a dead person believed by some to visit the living as a pale, almost transparent form of a person, animal, or other object


phantomadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈfæn.təm/ us /ˈfæn.t̬əm/

like a ghost:

A phantom coach is said to pass through the grounds of this house when there's a full moon.
humorous The phantom wine-drinker has been around (= an unknown person has been drinking the wine)!

used to describe something that you imagine exists or that appears to exist, although in fact it does not:

Although she had to have her leg amputated, she still feels as though she's got a phantom limb.
They discovered it was a phantom organization set up for the processing of drug profits.
UK Although she grew bigger, she later discovered it was a phantom (US false) pregnancy.

(Definition of “phantom” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"phantom" in American English

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phantomnoun [ C ]

us /ˈfæn·təm/

something that appears or seems to exist but is not real or is imagined

A phantom is also a ghost.

(Definition of “phantom” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)