What is a ghost word?

What is a ghost word?A ghost word is one that has entered the language through the perpetuation of an error. It is a term invented by lexicographer W W Skeat in 1886 to denote words that are not real words. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable revised by Adrian Room describes ghost words as “spurious terms, the result of errors made by authors, typists, editors, and printers, and they hardly ever become part of the language. An example of a lasting ghost word is ‘dord’ (meaning density) which can be found in the 1934 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, second edition. Eliminated from future Merriam-Webster editions, this ghost word lives on in the 1934 edition.”

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