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I am using the word spectre for both of its meanings. "a ghost" or at least something hidden, and "something widely feared as a unpleasant or dangerous occurrence."

I'm racking my brains for another noun I can use; something which is also dangerous but in a more straight-forward and up-front way.


The reason is that I'm attempting to create names which people in a story may give to deadly mechanical creations. I have three different "types". The first is sneaky like a ghost but deadly(spectre) and human-sized.

The second is rather large (house-sized) and loud: you can see it coming but you can't stop it. "Juggernaut" would be the perfect word for it, but I'm debating whether that word is kind of cliche, so it may also be something along the lines of Behemoth or Collossus.

The third is the one I'm having trouble naming, probably because it has somewhat of an identity crisis. It is a mix between the first two, with the speed and slightly larger size than the spectre, but the up-front power and unstoppable force of the Juggernaut.

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  • How about apparition?
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 2, 2016 at 19:07
  • I suppose I didn't explain it well, but by "up-front" I am trying to avoid other ghostly sounding imagery. Aug 2, 2016 at 19:09

4 Answers 4

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I think most synonyms of fiend would work, for example:

ogre

beast

demon

hellion

serpent

etc.

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Menace

For the one in between I think a word like "Menace" in its noun form might be appropriate given your use case and context.

Menace: a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger.

Reference - https://www.google.com/search?q=define+menace

I know you asked for one but my second choice was the word 'hazard' which I think might also fit.

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I like

Portent

Meaning: -

  1. a sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen.

Ref - Google dictionary

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To capture the notion of "sneaky like a ghost but deadly(spectre) and human-sized", you can refer to the machine metaphorically as an assassin, but the specific word that came to my mind was ninja.

A ninja or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination and guerrilla warfare. Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed "dishonorable" and "beneath" the samurai-caste, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.
Wikipedia

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