Until today I believed that both terms are basically the same.

But our English teacher told us that the correct term is Holy Spirit.

Is there any difference between Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost? I know a song whom lyrics say: I've got the Holy Ghost down in my soul.

When should we use Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost?

BTW, Wikipedia says:

Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, but understood differently among the Abrahamic religions

  • 4
    try asking on christianity.stackexchange.com
    – Ian
    Mar 24, 2014 at 16:58
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    Have you asked your teacher for their authority in choosing one as the 'correct' term? I can find a lot of authorities saying that neither is incorrect (though Holy Ghost is a rather more old-fashioned sounding name). Mar 24, 2014 at 17:00
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    No, there is no difference between them, and they are for all intents and purposed interchangeable. In my limited experience, Holy Ghost is more often used by Catholics and Mormons, while Holy Spirit by protestants. Mar 24, 2014 at 17:03
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    The word spirit is the Latin word for the English word ghost. Both mean 'soul, non-corporeal being'. When England became Christian, Latin terms began to make their way into the language. One of the phrases "Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost" is generally preferred traditionally by one or another Christian denomination. When I was growing up Catholic in the 1950s, we were taught Holy Ghost as the norm, but we also recognized Holy Spirit in some prayers. Your mileage may vary if you acculturated in a different time, place, or sect. Mar 24, 2014 at 17:34
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about potentially subtle theological distinctions which should more properly be addressed on [christianity.SO](christianity.stackexchange.com) Mar 24, 2014 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


When the term 'Holy Ghost' was coined, the word 'ghost' meant the spiritual essence of a person, and the Holy Ghost was (loosely) the spiritual essence of God. Nowadays 'ghost' usually means a creepy things that hangs around after death and haunts people, which isn't what was originally intended.

Because of this, in modern usage the term 'Holy Spirit' is generally preferred. However 'Holy Ghost' is also well understood and fairly frequently used (especially in older Bible translations) and means the same thing.

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