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Specter   /spˈɛktər/   Listen
Specter

noun
1.
A mental representation of some haunting experience.  Synonyms: ghost, shade, spectre, spook, wraith.  "It aroused specters from his past"
2.
A ghostly appearing figure.  Synonyms: apparition, fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, spectre.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Specter" Quotes from Famous Books



... mighty rock portals of the Cave of Terrible Things, like some magnificent tigress hedged with foes. Beyond those portals Red Jabez, Sultan of pirates, arbiter of life and death over the motley community, lay at grips with the grim specter to whom he had consigned scores far more readily than he now yielded up his own red-stained soul. Red Jabez was dying a death as hard as his lurid ...
— The Pirate Woman • Aylward Edward Dingle

... at her beck and call, never at a loss to do and say the right thing, Miller had wooed her in his own masterful way, trampling down prejudice, suspicion, unbelief, until he had gained his heritage—love. The specter of the past ...
— I Spy • Natalie Sumner Lincoln

... harmony, however, the Missouri controversy cast the specter-like shadow of slavery. For the moment, and often in after years, it seemed inevitable that parties would spring into new vigor following sectional lines. All patriots were genuinely alarmed. "This momentous question," wrote Jefferson, "like a fire ...
— Jefferson and his Colleagues - A Chronicle of the Virginia Dynasty, Volume 15 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Allen Johnson

... like iron are lamp glasses in paper shirts; and farther away, groups of oil-drums. All is dilapidated and ruinous; all is dark in this angle of the great building where light is elaborated. The specter of a huge window stands yonder. The panes only half appear; so encrusted are they they might be covered with yellow paper. The great stones—the rocks—of the walls are upholstered with a dark deposit of grease, like the bottom of a stewpan, and nests of dust hang from them. Black puddles gleam ...
— Light • Henri Barbusse

... of "F'' might be disposed of in the same way. In this instance "F'' saw the white-robed specter open the door, walk around the room and finally, taking his position as if to depart, say: "I have taken all you have.'' No doubt this vision took place at the exact ...
— 10,000 Dreams Interpreted • Gustavus Hindman Miller

... room—I remembered now how fearfully the servants avoided it—how it was mentioned rarely, and in whispers, when we were children, and how we had regarded it as a mysterious region, unfit for mortal habitation. Was It—the dark form with the chain—a creature of this world, or a specter? And again—more dreadful still—could it be that the corpses of wicked men were forced to rise and haunt in the body the places where they had wrought their evil deeds? And was such as these my grisly neighbor? The chain faintly rattled. ...
— Stories by Modern American Authors • Julian Hawthorne

... and hid her face in her hands, murmuring: "Oh! Good Heavens!" And seeing this stranger who seemed to be threatening his mother, George sprang up, ready to seize him by the collar, while Limousin, who was thunderstruck, looked at this specter in horror, who, after panting for a few moments, continued: "So now we will have an explanation; the proper moment for it has come! Ah! you deceived me, you condemned me to the life of a convict, and you thought that I ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... hospitality as they extended, Mrs. Mumpson would remain indefinitely. Moreover, the homely, silent child made the women nervous, just as her mother irritated the men, and they did not want her around. Thus she had come to be but the specter of a child, knowing little of the good in the world and as much of the evil as she ...
— He Fell in Love with His Wife • Edward P. Roe

... know you have the money, but, my dear little girl, you are going to need every cent of it and more too before you get rid of this specter. But I couldn't charge David anything if he were a millionaire. Don't you understand,—this is the only way we doctors have of showing what we think of the big work these preachers are doing here ...
— Sunny Slopes • Ethel Hueston

... the open portholes came the swish of bubbling water and a flood of sunlight. Then Riggs made a little speech and they all drank Clark's health, promising him continued support and such money as he needed to make steel rails. The threatening specter of Marsham had ...
— The Rapids • Alan Sullivan

... brought on the specter of Napoleon for a different purpose. Early in January, 1865, Francis P. Blair made a journey to Richmond and proposed to Davis a plan of reconciliation involving the complete abandonment of slavery, the reunion of all the States, and an expedition ...
— The Day of the Confederacy - A Chronicle of the Embattled South, Volume 30 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Nathaniel W. Stephenson

... bundle, so that it was a close shave I wasn't smothered. I was taken in what I suppose was a cab and flung into what I afterwards learned was the hold of a steamer. When the ship stopped, I was carried like a sack of meal on someone's shoulder, and unhampered before a gaunt specter in uniform, in a room so dazzling with electric light that I could hardly see. That was a few minutes ago, Now I am here, and ...
— A Rock in the Baltic • Robert Barr

... Athens, topped by the tettix, see, I return! See, 'tis myself here standing alive, no specter that speaks! Crowned with the myrtle, did you command me, Athens and you, "Run, Pheidippides, run and race, reach Sparta for aid! Persia has come, we are here, where is She?" Your command I obeyed, Ran and raced: like stubble, some field which a fire runs through Was the space between ...
— Graded Poetry: Seventh Year - Edited by Katherine D. Blake and Georgia Alexander • Various

... "Nay, then," the specter stern rejoined, "These are unpardonable yearnings; If you are lame, and deaf, and blind, You've had your three sufficient warnings, So, come along; no more we'll part." He said, and touched him with his dart: And now old Dodson, turning ...
— McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader • William Holmes McGuffey

... poor that a month's illness or a shut-down of the factory may push them from poverty to the abyss. They are thrifty, but can neither earn nor save enough to feel absolutely sure that the hollow-eyed specter of Want may not seize them by the throat. They are willing to work, so eager to work that at the docks and the factory gates they trample and jostle one another for the chance to work. They are the underpinnings, the underprops of an old system, ...
— Canada: the Empire of the North - Being the Romantic Story of the New Dominion's Growth from Colony to Kingdom • Agnes C. Laut

... had been fighting a specter, never daring to lift her eyes to it, but fighting it blindly, passionately, unceasingly. She had denied its existence, refuted every memory, filled her life to the brim with other interests, other affections, and here suddenly she had met ...
— A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill • Alice Hegan Rice

... watch him, and, if necessary, to prevent his escape?" But he noticed nothing of the kind; the clerks were all hard at work, and the other people paid him no kind of attention. The visitor began to become reassured. "If," thought he, "this mysterious personage of yesterday, this specter which had risen from the bowels of the earth, knew all, and had seen all, would they, I should like to know, let me stand about like this? Would they not rather have arrested me, instead of waiting till I should come of my own accord? Hence this man has either ...
— The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations • Julian Hawthorne

... the premises—they did it once; they can do it again. The Negro and his friends should see to it that the white majority shall never wish to do anything to his hurt. There still stands, before the Negro-hating whites of the South, the specter of a Supreme Court which will interpret the Constitution to mean what it says, and what those who enacted it meant, and what the nation, which ratified it, understood, and which will find power, in a nation which goes beyond seas to administer the affairs of distant ...
— The Wife of his Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, and - Selected Essays • Charles Waddell Chesnutt

... strives, with vain and frantic effort, to avert the blow. The whole is executed with terrible truth and spirit; we almost fancy we hear the gibbering yell of triumph bursting from the distended jaws of the specter. But why should we thus seek to clothe death with unnecessary terrors, and to spread horrors round the tombs of those we love? The grave should be surrounded by everything that might inspire tenderness and veneration for the dead; or that might win the living to virtue. ...
— Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume I. - Great Britain and Ireland • Various

... had not the courage to frame. There might have been some other woman in my set whom I could have fallen in love with and asked to marry me without a word of explanation; but the more I knew this girl, the less could I find it in my heart to deceive her. And yet, in spite of this specter that was constantly looming up before me, I could never have believed that life held such happiness as was contained in those dream days ...
— The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man • James Weldon Johnson

... creak of the banister where Adam had sat, sinister and silent in his wheel-chair, listening to the music. Memories were crowding thick upon him. Again and again he wished that he had never opened the door of the sitting room that other night and caught the old man off his guard. It had left a specter in his mind, horrible in its pathos and intense. Strung fiercely to the thought of emptiness, it came upon him nevertheless, as he opened the door, with a curious chill sense of palpability; as if silence and emptiness could strike one in the ...
— Kenny • Leona Dalrymple

... would be worse yet. They could feel the cold as it crept in through the cracks, reaching out for them with its icy, death-dealing fingers; and they would crouch and cower, and try to hide from it, all in vain. It would come, and it would come; a grisly thing, a specter born in the black caverns of terror; a power primeval, cosmic, shadowing the tortures of the lost souls flung out to chaos and destruction. It was cruel iron-hard; and hour after hour they would cringe in its grasp, alone, alone. There would be no one to hear them if they cried out; there would ...
— The Jungle • Upton Sinclair

... Miss Harriet who had come upon us, who had seen us, and who stood in front of us, as motionless as a specter. Then she disappeared ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Vol. 1 (of 8) - Boule de Suif and Other Stories • Guy de Maupassant

... was almost out, saw a terrible figure, like that of a man, but of unusual stature and severe countenance. He was somewhat frightened at first, but seeing it neither did nor spoke anything to him, only stood silently by his bed-side, he asked who it was. The specter answered him, "Thy evil genius, Brutus, thou shalt see me at Philippi." Brutus answered courageously, "Well, I shall see you," and immediately the appearance vanished. When the time was come, he drew up his army near Philippi against Antony and Caesar, and in the first battle won the ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... himself instantly, and glanced at the three girls. As his eyes fell on Lilias and Dulcie, his expression changed to one of utter consternation and amazement, and he colored to the roots of his fair hair. They on their part gazed at him as if they had encountered a specter. ...
— The Princess of the School • Angela Brazil

... sat opposite her mother in the living-room trying to read one of the books she had received for Christmas the incident of the missing bracelet and Mignon's accusation suddenly loomed up in her mind like an unwelcome specter. Suppose Mignon had been right, after all. Jerry had openly asserted that she did not believe Mignon had really lost her bracelet, and in her anger Marjorie had secretly agreed with the stout girl. Suppose Constance had taken it. What if she were one of those persons one reads of in ...
— Marjorie Dean High School Freshman • Pauline Lester

... Pip, like a yellow specter in oilskins, came up to them. "Eve wants you, Brooks," he shouted above the clamor of wind ...
— Mistress Anne • Temple Bailey

... at some moment he might find them off their guard, either to be drawn into an ambuscade by day or surprised in camp by night. Unswervingly due north-east the night-marchers held their course for several miles, the warrior gliding on before them, like a gigantic specter there to lead them over the shadowy borders of another world. So it seemed to Burl, who felt his spirit strangely troubled within him whenever an opening through the forest, letting in the hazy glimmer of the moon, brought that huge bulk less vaguely before ...
— Burl • Morrison Heady

... the rich, an administration of justice burdensome for sparsely settled communities, a money system that penalized them for being debtors, or taxes levied for the support of a church which they never entered. And so, before the Revolution opened, the Western imagination had conjured up the specter of a corrupt and effete "East": land of money-changers and self-styled aristocrats and a pliant clergy, the haunt of lawyers and hangers-on, proper dwelling-place of "servants" and the beaten slave: a land of cities, scorning the provincial West, and ...
— Beginnings of the American People • Carl Lotus Becker

... of scandal, as it touched the Remingtons, touching that dearest purchase of femininity, social standing; there was the specter of poverty, which threatened from the exposure of the source of her income and the enforcement of the law; nearer and quite as poignant, was the specter of an ignominious retreat from the comfort of George Remington's house to her former lodging, ...
— The Sturdy Oak - A Composite Novel of American Politics by Fourteen American Authors • Samuel Merwin, et al.

... the path; the terror of the river was ever in his thoughts, and the specter of his fear seemed to flit before him and lure him on. Presently he caught his first glimpse of the bayou and his legs shook under him; but the path wound deeper still into what appeared to be an untouched solitude, ...
— The Prodigal Judge • Vaughan Kester

... cottonwood variety. But there were no families of ladies and children here to enjoy the lovely spot. A feeling of intense uneasiness seemed to pervade the very air and a weird presentiment of impending horror covered the prairie as with a ghostly shroud. The specter of a wronged, persecuted race ever haunted the white man's conscience. In vain did the red man breast the rising tide of civilization. In their sacred tepees, their medicine men invoked the aid of their great Spirit and they ...
— Tales of Aztlan • George Hartmann

... specter of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French radicals and German ...
— Manifesto of the Communist Party • Karl Marx

... when we get up on top of the cliff. There's a big dead tree in front of it, so you can't miss it, even in the night, for the bark has been peeled off it by lightning and the wind, so that it stands out like a white specter in ...
— Comrades of the Saddle - The Young Rough Riders of the Plains • Frank V. Webster

... we had meal coffee, and corn cakes without butter. But we had a half-pint of molasses (for seven) which cost 75 cts. The gaunt specter is approaching nearer ...
— A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital • John Beauchamp Jones

... Signor Schiaparelli and Mr. Lockyer and Dr. Bredichin about the composition of comets! But, alas! the world could never know what I now saw. Nobody on yonder gleaming earth, watching the magnificent advance of this "specter of the skies," would ever dream that there was a lost astronomer in its blazing head. I should be burned and rent to pieces amid the terrors of its perihelion passage, and my fragments would be strewn along the comet's orbit, to become, in course of time, particles in a swarm of aerolites. ...
— Other Worlds - Their Nature, Possibilities and Habitability in the Light of the Latest Discoveries • Garrett P. Serviss

... lame marcher, a mind which was admittedly "shocked at each discovery of the aliveness of theory," Una's observation of the stalking specter of sex did not lead her to make any very lucid conclusions about the matter. But she did wonder a little if this whole business of marriages and marriage ceremonies and legal bonds which any clerkly pastor can gild with religiosity was so sacred as she had been informed in Panama. ...
— The Job - An American Novel • Sinclair Lewis

... fascinated afresh by this somber figure, this restless life. It is the type of suffering toward which I myself gravitate, and I am always finding in the poem words which strike straight to my heart. Immortal, malign, accursed type! Specter of my own conscience, ghost of my own torment, image of the ceaseless struggle of the soul which has not yet found its true aliment, its peace, its faith—art thou not the typical example of a life which feeds upon itself, because it has not found its God, ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... a feeling that Jeremiah will play an important part in our operations up here in the Kentucky mountains. We won't get worked up over him at present, anyway. To change the subject, I haven't told you that Elfreda has adopted Little Lindy, the hermit's daughter that we took from the cave in the Specter Mountains last season. The Overlanders are still her guardians, but that guardianship will be transferred to Elfreda when we get ...
— Grace Harlowe's Overland Riders Among the Kentucky Mountaineers • Jessie Graham Flower

... chief prelates and princes of Germany, a seventh army; brought it down to Como across the Spluegen, put himself there at its head, and in the early spring of 1176, the fifteenth year since he had decreed the effacing of the name of Milan, was met at Legnano by the specter of Milan. ...
— On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... return, face my accusers, and know the worst? Why flee from the specter of a crime committed by another? Are my hands stained with human blood? Is ...
— Oswald Langdon - or, Pierre and Paul Lanier. A Romance of 1894-1898 • Carson Jay Lee

... The specter of ecclesiastical authority reared itself, and the question of sharing public school moneys with parochial schools and of reading the Bible in the public schools became a burning issue. Here and there occurred clashes that were more ...
— Our Foreigners - A Chronicle of Americans in the Making • Samuel P. Orth

... we had to dread were the revolution which is held up as a specter to terrify us! Since I cannot imagine a society more detestable than ours, I feel more skeptical than alarmed in regard to that which will replace it. If I should have to suffer from the change, I should be consoled by thinking that ...
— The Kingdom of God is within you • Leo Tolstoy

... curious species are—the slow lemurs of South India, small tailless nocturnal animals, somewhat resembling sloths in appearance, and almost as deliberate in their movements, except when in the act of seizing their insect prey; the Tarsier, or specter lemur, of the Malay islands, a small, long tailed nocturnal lemur, remarkable for the curious development of the hind feet, which have two of the toes very short, and with sharp claws, while the others have nails, the third toe being exceedingly long and slender, though ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 344, August 5, 1882 • Various

... There stands a specter in your hall; The guilt of blood is at your door; You changed a wholesome heart to gall. You held your course without remorse, To make him trust his modest worth, And, last, you fixed a vacant stare, And slew ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 2 (of 4) • Various

... temptingly near. Tarzan closed his eyes and awaited the end. He knew that he would suffer, for he recalled the faint memories of past burns. He knew that he would suffer and die; but he did not flinch. Death is no great adventure to the jungle bred who walk hand-in-hand with the grim specter by day and lie down at his side by night through all the years of their lives. It is doubtful that the ape-man even speculated upon what came after death. As a matter of fact as his end approached, his mind was occupied ...
— Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... the mirror of our imagination the specter of the day after the orgy; it will evoke the monster of the headache which works upon the suffering cranium with its claws of steel; and, at some future day, it will show us precocious decrepitude as well as all bodily ...
— Common Sense - - Subtitle: How To Exercise It • Yoritomo-Tashi

... least able to contemplate the present with equanimity, the future with fortitude, and the past without regret. Every thinking man, however, knows that this is not so. The true zero hour, desolate, gloom-ridden, and specter-haunted, occurs immediately before dinner while we are waiting for that cocktail. It is then that, stripped for a brief moment of our armor of complacency and self-esteem, we see ourselves as we are,—frightful chumps ...
— The Little Warrior - (U.K. Title: Jill the Reckless) • P. G. Wodehouse

... was to-day in a state of unusual stir and excitement. Everybody made haste to finish his noon-day meal, and nobody thought of complaining especially that this repast was so sparingly provided and served in such small portions, and that the dread specter of hunger was ever stalking nearer to the inhabitants of the unhappy, much-plagued town. They were to-day looking forward to a spectacle—one, moreover, for which no money was to be paid, which could be had gratis, just by being upon the street in right time and struggling to obtain a good position ...
— The Youth of the Great Elector • L. Muhlbach

... stokers lustily when aroused. Their life is so simple in these beloved islands that the dangers of the mainland are exaggerated in their minds, and to the old the civilization of a big city appears as a specter of horrible mien. The electric cars, the crowds, the murders they read of and are told of, the bandits in the picture-shows, the fearful stranglers of Paris, the lynchers, the police, who in the films are always beating ...
— Mystic Isles of the South Seas. • Frederick O'Brien

... dreams of what should be in the years to come, when, grown to manhood, it entered the arena of the world. A bony hand stole over his shoulder and seized the child, and looking up he beheld Death standing by his chair. He clasped his treasure close and struggled with the grisly specter, but it only mocked him, and tearing the child from him, fled into the outer void. He struggled to his feet and from his parched lips there burst a cry that echoed and reechoed through the dark woods and was hurled back from the ...
— Volume 1 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... friends and former foes we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. ...
— Inaugural Presidential Address - Contributed Transcripts • Barack Hussein Obama

... Ermentrude Roberts, married to you in the sight of God and man. I cannot prove it, but as you once said, our hearts know it and will continue to know it as long as either of us lives. But I am not going to obtrude my claims upon you, Carleton, or stand like a specter in your path. Had this woman you have deceived been weak or foolish or unloving, or indeed anything but what she is, I might have held to my rights and insisted upon a recognition which would have profited you in the end. But I cannot shame ...
— The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow • Anna Katharine Green

... Capitulation now seemed imminent; but as the commander-in-chief had declared that he would never countenance such a disgrace, he resigned his post to Vinoy. Threatened by bombardment from without, terrified within by the pale specter of famine, paralyzed and distracted by the violent dissensions among the people, and without prospect of effective aid from the provinces, what remained to the proud capital but to desist from a conflict ...
— A History of The Nations and Empires Involved and a Study - of the Events Culminating in The Great Conflict • Logan Marshall

... building, from top to bottom, like a shadow, who spoke to nobody, to whom nobody dared speak and who vanished as soon as he was seen, no one knowing how or where. As became a real ghost, he made no noise in walking. People began by laughing and making fun of this specter dressed like a man of fashion or an undertaker; but the ghost legend soon swelled to enormous proportions among the corps de ballet. All the girls pretended to have met this supernatural being more or less often. And those who laughed the loudest were not the ...
— The Phantom of the Opera • Gaston Leroux

... the edges. The outside doors all opened outward; and I noted, with a shudder of contempt, the "witch's half-moon," or lunette, in the bottom of each door, which betrays the cowardly superstition of the man who lived there. Such cat-holes are fashioned for haunted houses; the specter is believed to crawl out through these openings, and then to be kept out with a tarred rag stuffed into the hole—ghosts being unable to endure tar. Faugh! If specters walk, the accursed house must be alive with them—ghosts of the victims of old John Butler, ...
— The Reckoning • Robert W. Chambers

... she? That was the great question for him. Since his struggle in the forest of Defetgamm he had come to the resolve to strike fierce and reiterated blows on that disabling and surely contemptible love of his, that love which had confronted him like a specter when he was in the pavilion with Jimmy. He was resolved at last upon assassination, and he wanted a weapon that could slay, not a weapon that would bend, or ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... sinking down at the foot of the staircase—suddenly collapsing there on the lowest step and then, with a revulsion, recalling that it was exactly where more than a month before, in the darkness of night and just so bowed with evil things, I had seen the specter of the most horrible of women. At this I was able to straighten myself; I went the rest of the way up; I made, in my bewilderment, for the schoolroom, where there were objects belonging to me that I should have ...
— The Turn of the Screw • Henry James

... was no plea for life. It was regret that there was not a moment of life left in which to speak. Bess was—Herein lay renewed torture for Venters. What had Bess been to Oldring? The old question, like a specter, stalked from its grave to haunt him. He had overlooked, he had forgiven, he had loved and he had forgotten; and now, out of the mystery of a dying man's whisper rose again that perverse, unsatisfied, jealous uncertainty. Bess had loved that splendid, black-crowned giant—by her own confession she ...
— Riders of the Purple Sage • Zane Grey

... She shivered. A specter rose before her that she had seen before—hard-featured, domineering, unloved, unloving, chafing in ghastly solitude, alone with her sheep and her money, and the best years of her life behind her. She saw herself as her work ...
— The Fighting Shepherdess • Caroline Lockhart

... seek that rest that will bring Nepenthe to his dreams, but the specter of that murdered old man will arise before his vision, and rest is impossible. Ah, how many long, weary days and nights, fraught with terror and remorse, will come to this unfortunate man ere he finds a final release and a ...
— Bucholz and the Detectives • Allan Pinkerton

... and, opening it, was about to call, when I was aware of Miss Drainger's presence; she seemed to have materialized, a pale specter, out of the dusk, and I was again conscious ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1919 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... like a piece of ghost pie, or some specter doughnuts?" went on Tom, who was bound to have ...
— The Rover Boys at College • Edward Stratemeyer

... readily accepted every sort of rumor about this mysterious automobile. It was said to be a supernatural car. It was driven by a specter, by one of the chauffeurs of hell, a goblin from another world, a monster escaped from some mythological menagerie, in short, the devil in person, who could defy all human intervention, having at his command ...
— The Master of the World • Jules Verne

... the dim light of the lanterns and candles hung here and there upon the walls and stuck on the window sills, Smith's face, pale, stern, sad, shone like a specter ...
— The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail • Ralph Connor

... and both were apostles of dread. They spoke to her. She breathed dread on that silent air and it filled her breast. There was nothing stable in the night shadows. The ravine seemed to send forth stealthy, noiseless shapes, specter and human, man and phantom, ...
— The Border Legion • Zane Grey

... enough into the billiard-room, thence (dogged by a specter of loneliness) to the bar, and finally, in sheer desperation, to the dining-room, where he selected a table and ordered an evening paper ...
— The Brass Bowl • Louis Joseph Vance

... if there were any suffering involved in this matter now, it rested upon him, not upon Gower. Most men past middle age, who have drunk deeply the pleasant wine of material success, shrink from the gaunt specter of poverty. They have shot their bolt. They cannot stand up to hard work. They cannot endure privation. They lose heart. They go about seeking sympathy, railing against the fate. They lie down and the world walks ...
— Poor Man's Rock • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... yellow man from gaining entrance to the land of the Americans. The father of this youth held Chuan Kai in the hollow of his hand, and Chuan Kai knew that a few words spoken to the enforcers-of-law would send him away from these shores, where living came so easily, back to China where stalked a specter which he had reason to fear with the fear of one whose heart trembles like the heart of a field mouse that hears the cry of the long-taloned owl. Those reasons trooped through the Oriental's mind as his black eyes shifted from the ...
— The Mark of the Knife • Clayton H. Ernst

... reached the age of Methuselah he would know better than to roll in snow-banks or stand around in mud puddles. She didn't kick over chairs or slam doors or leave him alone. When Mr. Bowser shed tears, she wiped them away. When he moaned, she held his hand. When he said he felt that the grim specter was near, and wanted to kiss the baby good-by, she cheered him with the prediction that he would be a great deal better ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VII. (of X.) • Various

... nothing more than Sheldon, Senior, had told him—a successful man who told nothing of his business except to the Treasury Department, a silent man, with a passion for making money. What could he fear? Whom? What specter out of the past could conjure up the visions he had seen dancing between ...
— The Vagrant Duke • George Gibbs

... promptly not only a situation appalling in its immediate realization, but one of even more terrifying possibilities for the near future. For through the haze of the smoke-clouds from burning towns and above the rattle of the machine guns in Dinant and Louvain could be seen the hovering specter of starvation and heard the wailing of hungry children. And how the specter was to be made to pass and the children to hush their cries was soon the problem ...
— Herbert Hoover - The Man and His Work • Vernon Kellogg

... my sojourns in Russia, my thoughts naturally dwell upon the two sovereigns Nicholas I and Alexander II. The first of these was a great man scared out of greatness by the ever recurring specter of the French Revolution. There had been much to make him a stern reactionary. He could not but remember that two Czars—his father and grandfather—had both been murdered in obedience to family necessities. At his proclamation as emperor he had been ...
— Volume I • Andrew Dickson White

... around in your life. I'm different from that kind of people. If I'm sincere I can't pretend I'm not different. And I'm not a bit sure I know what's any better for them to do than what they're doing!" She had spoken impetuously, hotly, addressing not the men beside her but a specter of her past life. ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... Gods, fear still holds their empire in the mind of mortals; they have been so early accustomed to tremble even at the name of the Deity, that it has become for them a specter, a goblin, a were-wolf which torments them, and whose idea deprives them even of the courage to attempt to reassure themselves. They are afraid that this invisible specter will strike them if they cease to be afraid. The religious people fear their God too much to love Him sincerely; they serve ...
— Superstition In All Ages (1732) - Common Sense • Jean Meslier

... state more explicitly than I had done in my "Lectures" my general approval of his life-long endeavors. He wished more particularly that I should explain why I, though by profession an etymologist, was not frightened by the specter of phonetic spelling, while such high authorities as Archbishop Trench and Dean Alford had declared that phonetic spelling would necessarily destroy the historical and etymological character of the ...
— Chips From A German Workshop, Vol. V. • F. Max Mueller

... the time, angel of the dawn who is neither night nor day; they found him seated on a lime sack filled with bones, clad in the mantle of egoism, and shivering in terrible cold. The anguish of death entered into the soul at the sight of that specter, half mummy and half fetus; they approached it as the traveler who is shown at Strasburg the daughter of an old count of Sarvenden, embalmed in her bride's dress: that childish skeleton makes one shudder, for her slender and livid hand wears the wedding-ring and her head falls into dust in the ...
— The Confession of a Child of The Century • Alfred de Musset

... who should kill or take any depredating Indian. As only two dollars was paid for killing a wolf, it is easy to see how the pioneers regarded the forest folk in point of relative noxiousness. But ten years later a handful only of the Kickapoos remained in Sangamon County, the specter of the vanished people. A chief named Machina came one day to a family who were clearing a piece of timber, and issued an order of eviction in these words: "Too much come white man. T'other side Sangamon." He threw a handful of dried leaves in the air to show how he would scatter ...
— Abraham Lincoln: A History V1 • John G. Nicolay and John Hay

... Links, and up steep rises over a white and dusty road, with a flaring stone dyke on each side, and neither tree nor bush to shelter us from the scorching sunlight till we came to Woodhouseleigh, the haunted walk of a white specter, who, it seems, was fond of the shade, for her favorite promenade was an avenue overarched with the green arms of noble old elm trees; and we blessed the welcome shelter of the Ghost's Haunt.... A cloud fell over all ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... to lead men to great extremes, and was responsible for the cruel teaching of the theologians of the school, who were more logically consistent than the Bishop of Hippo. They endeavored to terrorize heretics by the specter of the stake. St. Augustine, bold as he was, shrank from such barbarity. But if, on his own admission, the logical consequences of the principle he laid down were to be rejected, did not this prove the ...
— The Inquisition - A Critical and Historical Study of the Coercive Power of the Church • E. Vacandard

... with a strong French accent. All listened attentively, and the dim light just revealing their countenances showed their different emotions of confidence or distrust in his plans. General Sidney Johnson stood apart from the rest, with his tall straight form standing out like a specter against the dim sky, and the illusion was fully sustained by the light-gray military cloak which he folded around him. His face was pale, but wore a determined expression, and at times he drew nearer the center of the ring and said a few words, ...
— Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army • William G. Stevenson

... State, Porto Rico could not be kept a Territory. No more could the Sandwich Islands. And then, looming direct in our path, like a volcano rising out of the mist on the affrighted vision of mariners tempest-tossed in tropic seas, is the specter of such States as Luzon and the Visayas ...
— Problems of Expansion - As Considered In Papers and Addresses • Whitelaw Reid

... throwing his sword upon the bed, "this man must be the devil in person; he has disappeared like a phantom, like a shade, like a specter." ...
— The Three Musketeers • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... said the specter in a wheezing rasp of a voice which the chief could hardly hear—"I have come to surrender myself. I am ...
— The Escape of Mr. Trimm - His Plight and other Plights • Irvin S. Cobb

... one atonement I can make is—to leave you. Your one chance of future happiness is to be disassociated, at once and forever, from my dishonored life. I love you, Valeria—truly, devotedly, passionately. But the specter of the poisoned woman rises between us. It makes no difference that I am innocent even of the thought of harming my first wife. My innocence has not been proved. In this world my innocence can never be proved. You are young and ...
— The Law and the Lady • Wilkie Collins

... poor wife, it is far worse than that. No man has ever seen a more ghastly specter than I have seen of death ...
— Wife in Name Only • Charlotte M. Braeme (Bertha M. Clay)

... The specter saluted. "Lieutenant Alfred Pendray, of the Shane," he said, in a voice that had almost no strength. He held up a pouch. "Microfilm," he said. "Must get to ...
— The Measure of a Man • Randall Garrett

... alarmed at finding myself weltering in congealed blood, and without feeling any pain whatever. Having started up and run to the surgeon, with a firebrand in one hand, and all over besmeared with gore, the mystery was found to be, that I had been bitten by the vampire or specter of Guiana, which is also called the flying dog of New Spain. This is no other than a bat of monstrous size, that sucks the blood from men and cattle, sometimes even till they die; knowing, by instinct, that ...
— Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals • R. Lee

... or the merciless tearing of sleep from his soul wrought magic and transformed him into a glowing, jeweled specter. He sprouted toes and long legs; he rose and inflated his sleek emerald frog-form; his sides blazed forth a mother-of-pearl waist-coat—a myriad mosaics of pink and blue and salmon and mauve; and from nowhere if not from the ...
— Edge of the Jungle • William Beebe

... into an unholy league for the mutual protection of these three despotic dynasties against the dormant forces of constitutional liberty, which began to stir again in every European state as soon as the Napoleonic specter had been laid. The French Revolution had given currency to opinions which no congress of sovereigns could wholly repress, and now the policy of the "Alliance," to strangle all constitutional aspirations and rivet the chains of Bourbonism upon limbs that had once known ...
— Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century • James Richard Joy

... occasioned by a discovery of the degradation in which Rebecca had lived. There was no question of that between mother and son. There was no question of anything but the fearfully-exact resemblance between the living, breathing woman and the specter-woman ...
— The Queen of Hearts • Wilkie Collins

... craft into deep water, and with muffled stroke moved through the inky waves, a somber specter sneaking along the banks of ...
— The Fifth String, The Conspirators • John Philip Sousa

... forget or enjoy? I put the curtains down, and told Temperance, who was wandering about, not to call me to dinner. I determined, if possible, to surpass my dullness by indulgence. But underneath it all I could not deny that there was a specter, whose aimless movements kept me from stagnating. I determined to drag ...
— The Morgesons • Elizabeth Stoddard

... desert gave him visions wild, Such as might suit the specter's child. 150 Where with black cliffs the torrents toil, He watched the wheeling eddies boil, Till, from their foam, his dazzled eyes Beheld the River Demon rise; The mountain mist took form and limb, 155 Of noontide ...
— Lady of the Lake • Sir Walter Scott

... die soon—and, in general, it does. If it does not die, she has for the rest of her life a Damocles' sword hanging over her head, and she is in constant terror lest her sin be found out. She does not permit herself to look for a mate, but if she does get married, the specter of her antematrimonial experience is constantly before her eyes. After years and years of married life, the husband may divorce her if he finds out that she had "sinned" before she knew him. And unless the husband is a broad-minded man and loves her truly and unless she made a clean ...
— Woman - Her Sex and Love Life • William J. Robinson

... declension. O reader, turn ye about, shake loose from the world, draw nigh to God, let the deep breathings waft your soul upward and upward to greater heights in God's joy and love, and this world will only be a dim specter in the distance. ...
— Food for the Lambs; or, Helps for Young Christians • Charles Ebert Orr

... came the swish and the dull 'boom,' and the negro shivered. Colin was conscious that his heart was pounding a little and he caught himself wishing that it were the middle of the day instead of evening. Then out of the water not ten feet from the boat a dark witch-like specter swooped into the sky, black, horned, with bat-like wings and a long naked tail ...
— The Boy With the U. S. Fisheries • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... Sidonius Apollinaris. The gentle flow of the Ticino brings a line of Silius to his mind. The sulphurous stream of Albula suggests to him several passages of Martial. But he has not a word to say of the illustrious dead of Santa Croce; he crosses the wood of Ravenna[21] without recollecting the specter huntsman, and wanders up and down Rimini without one thought of Francesca. At Paris he had eagerly sought an introduction to Boileau; but he seems not to have been at all aware that at Florence he was in the vicinity of a poet with whom Boileau could ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... his first meal since the murders. He looked better, and we had a long talk, I outside the window and he within. He held to his story of the night before, but was still vague as to just how the thing looked. Of what it was he seemed to have no doubt. It was the specter of either the captain or Vail; he excluded the woman, because she was shorter. As I stood outside, he measured on me the approximate height of the apparition—somewhere about five feet eight. He could see Burns's shirt, ...
— The After House • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... unemployment, of intolerable misery. There was talk in both countries of intervention. Napoleon, especially, loomed large on the horizon as a possible ally of the Confederacy. And yet, all this while, Lincoln had it in his power at any minute to lay the specter of foreign intervention. A pledge to the "Liberal party throughout the world" that the war would bring about the destruction of slavery, and great political powers both in England and in France would at once cross the paths of their governments should they ...
— Lincoln • Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

... began to flit about the castle like a family specter of active habits. The first person he met ...
— The Intrusion of Jimmy • P. G. Wodehouse

... By kahoaka the Hawaiians designate "the spirit or soul of a person still living," in distinction from the uhane, which may be the spirit of the dead. Aka means shadow, likeness; akaku, that kind of reflection in the mists which we call the "specter in the brocken." Hoakaku means "to have a vision," a power which seers possess. Since the spirit may go abroad independently of the body, such romantic shifts as the vision of a dream lover, so magically introduced into more sophisticated romance, are attended with no difficulties of ...
— The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai • Anonymous

... departed than strife began its distracting work. War, political as well as theological, followed in the wake of his death. From the grave of the fallen hero a double specter began to loom up. Pope and Emperor now joined hands to crush Protestantism by brute force as they had planned long ago. The result was the Smalcald War. The secret enemies which Lutheranism harbored within its own bosom began boldly to raise their heads. Revealing their true ...
— Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church • Friedrich Bente

... one specter which, though laid for intervals, would not entirely down, and returned with stolid persistency: the existence of the Western empire hung on the thread of a single life; the very crowns of France and Italy had no heir. The situation was much discussed ...
— The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte - Vol. III. (of IV.) • William Milligan Sloane

... All motionless the Specter stood,—and now Its reverend form more clearly shone confest, From the pale cheek a beard of purest snow Descended o'er its venerable breast; The thin gray hairs, that crown'd its furrow'd brow, Told of years long gone by.—An ...
— The Humourous Poetry of the English Language • James Parton

... is there one who is alarmed at an eclipse, at a comet, at an ignis fatuus, or at the notes of a death-watch? or who postpones his experiments on account of what is called an unlucky day? Who ever heard of a specter appearing to such a person, dragging him from bed at the dead hour of midnight, to wander through the forest, trembling with fear? Such beings appear only to the ignorant and illiterate, at least to those who are unacquainted ...
— Popular Education - For the use of Parents and Teachers, and for Young Persons of Both Sexes • Ira Mayhew

... bullets from a lurking enemy as the suggestion of the spirits of the slain lingering round these tombs. For Termonde appeared like one vast tomb. As we first entered its sepulchral silences we were greatly relieved that the three specter-like beings who sat huddled up over a distant ruin turned out not to be ghosts, but natives hopelessly and pathetically surveying this wreck that was once called home, trying to rake out of the embers some sort of relic ...
— In the Claws of the German Eagle • Albert Rhys Williams

... caught your ship and sunk it with every soul on board, what joy it would give you! You are not thinking of the flour-trade with its profits and losses, but that every year in the swamps of La Plata and the river Amazon that fearful specter walks—the yellow fever—which, like the tiger, lies in ambush for the new-comer. Of every hundred, sixty fall victims to it. It is that of which the prospect gives you pleasure. ...
— Timar's Two Worlds • Mr Jkai

... a sledge approached slowly. It took form at last in a dim shadow, and MacVeigh saw that it would pass very near to him. He made out, one after another, a human figure, three dogs, and the toboggan. There was something appalling in the quiet of this specter of life looming up out of the night. He could no longer hear the sledge, though it was within fifty paces of him. The figure in advance walked slowly and with bowed head, and the dogs and the sledge followed in a ghostly line. Human leader and animals ...
— Isobel • James Oliver Curwood

... Phantom we detest, Rarely we let it cross our portals: It is a most exacting guest, And we are much afflicted mortals. Your neighbor Gay, that jovial wight, As Dives rich, and brave as Hector, Poor Gay steals twenty times a night, On shaking knees, to see his Specter. ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 4 (of 4) • Various

... shadow; pl. darkness, obscurity, gloom, shadows; retreat, seclusion; screen, protection, curtain, awning, blind; spirit, ghost, specter, phantom, manes; minute ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... the trip passed quickly in visioning the joyful reunion of the two young lovers, and it was not till they were fairly upon the inn that the grim specter of ...
— Lucile Triumphant • Elizabeth M. Duffield

... on the threshold of the study door, stood the mistress of the house. She held her old music-book clutched fast mechanically in both hands. She stood, the specter of herself. With a dreadful vacancy in her eyes, with a dreadful stillness in her voice, she repeated ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... is a really interesting story," insisted Frank. "You see, the fellow shot himself three times, and when he did not die quickly enough to be suited, he cut his throat from ear to ear, and his specter was a most ghastly-appearing object, bleeding from the bullet wounds and having a ...
— Frank Merriwell's Chums • Burt L. Standish

... with a bow. "Nevertheless," said he, with raillery to carry off his persistence, "I shall get you. If not sooner, then when the specter of an obscure—perhaps poor—old age begins to agitate the rich hangings of youth's ...
— Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise • David Graham Phillips

... working classes who are killed on one side and on the other. They promised the Socialist regime, and they have only destroyed the production of the factories so as to leave the population without product and throw the workers into an army of unemployed; the horrible specter of famine occupies the void left by the broken organizations of food-supply; millions of the money of the people are squandered in maintaining a Red Guard—or sent to Germany to keep up the agitation there, while the wives and the widows of our soldiers no longer receive an allowance, there ...
— Bolshevism - The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy • John Spargo

... specter of scandal, as it touched the Remingtons, touching that dearest purchase of femininity, social standing; there was the specter of poverty, which threatened from the exposure of the source of her income and the enforcement of the law; ...
— The Sturdy Oak - A Composite Novel of American Politics by Fourteen American Authors • Samuel Merwin, et al.

... fools himself, I guess. I am looking for a kind of ghost, a specter in black that leaves the palace early in the evening and returns late, whose destination ...
— The Goose Girl • Harold MacGrath

... presence of large numbers of black inductees and the limited number of assignments for them in segregated units prevented the Bureau of Naval Personnel from providing even a semblance of separate but equal conditions. Deteriorating black morale and the specter of racial disturbance drove the bureau to experiment with all-black crews, but the experiment led nowhere. The Navy could never operate a separate but equal fleet. Finally in 1944 Forrestal began to experiment with ...
— Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 • Morris J. MacGregor Jr.



Words linked to "Specter" :   spirit, shadow, Flying Dutchman, disembodied spirit



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