Meaning of phantom

phan•tom

Pronunciation: (fan'tum), [key]
— n.
  1. an apparition or specter.
  2. an appearance or illusion without material substance, as a dream image, mirage, or optical illusion.
  3. a person or thing of merely illusory power, status, efficacy, etc.: the phantom of fear.
  4. an illustration, part of which is given a transparent effect so as to permit representation of details otherwise hidden from view, as the inner workings of a mechanical device.
—adj.
  1. of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a phantom; illusory: a phantom sea serpent.
  2. noting or pertaining to a phantom circuit.
  3. named, included, or recorded but nonexistent; fictitious: Payroll checks were made out and cashed for phantom employees.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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