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I think that "ghost" refers to just a "spirit of someone who just died randomly". In superstitious/religious/occultist circles, I think that this is the word that would be used to refer to some random folk that just died, and that for some reason became "communicable" or "visible" in our "reality of the living".

I see "phantom" as a "non-random-ghost". I mean, a more serious and well-known subject, for example: "Do you mean the phantom of THE princess who died in THAT castle in THAT century?" (And therefore it's "more known" and more frequent in legends or whatever).

I see "wraith" as something similar to a phantom, but less well-known and that for some reason just became "visible" (Not communicable).

And "haunter", just a ghost (random human) who insists to stay in one specific place due to some traumatic death or whatever.

What do you think about it? I would really like to know your answers for this.

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  • I'm not an expert, mind, but in my mind "phantom" is what you call a "random ghost", while "ghost" is much more specified. I mean, I've never heard refer to a dead man's ghost as "his phantom".
    – Mr Lister
    Jul 14, 2013 at 11:48
  • This is quite hard to think about. I mean, why "The Phantom of the Opera" instead of "The Ghost of the Opera"? Apart from the fact that the writer just chose "phantom" over "ghost". So that's what I mean by "something more serious", because it gives some kind of "formality". "The Phantom of X" sounds fancier, while "ghost" sounds more trivial and randomly "creepy". Jul 14, 2013 at 18:31
  • All of them are excellent rolls royce cars
    – Janardan S
    Apr 5, 2017 at 14:42

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In English, all these words are synonymous. If you look up 'wraith', the definition will normally include 'a ghost or phantom' for example. Whether or not 'occultists' differentiate between them is their own affair.

I should say that while haunter is a legitimate word, I've never heard it in the sense of a ghost before. As haunting can be done by anyone or thing, ghostly or not, I wouldn't use it if I wanted to refer to a ghost.

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  • There's a fantastic tale written by Howard Phillips Lovecraft entitled: "The Haunter of the Dark". It's indeed unusual. Jul 14, 2013 at 18:22

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