Ghosting is an old word with a new definition that has been added to most dictionaries. English is a living language, which means it changes over time. New words are constantly entering the language, evidenced by the Oxford English Dictionary’s policy of adding English words to their lexicon quarterly. There are many avenues for a new word to enter into use. New words or phrases may be coined from existing words. Old words take on new meanings. Words may be borrowed from other languages. We will examine the definition of ghosting, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Ghosting is the practice of ending an relationship by failing to respond to emails, texts or phone calls, to end a relationship by seeming to disappear. Ghosting is abruptly cutting off all communication and contact with someone without explanation. People who ghost in this manner excuse their behavior by claiming that the recipient will “get the hint” and that they do not have to participate in an unpleasant situation where a confrontation is spoken aloud. Most people who are ghosted find the practice to be cruel, hurtful and cowardly, as they are confused as to what happened in their romantic relationship to warrant such behavior. The apps Bumble and Tinder have contributed to the rise of ghosting. Most often used to describe the sudden ending of a romantic relationship, ghosting may also refer to ending a friendship or a professional relationship. Recruiters are increasingly ghosting job seekers, and job applicants are ghosting by increasingly failing to reply to a job offer or are no shows as new hires. This definition of the word ghosting has been in use since about 2005, but the word ghosting has been in use since about the 1920s to mean ghost-writing a book or article. Ghosting may mean to haunt something or someone like a ghost. Ghosting may also refer to the phenomenon of a double image appearing on a television screen. Ghosting is used as a noun or a verb, related forms are ghost, ghosts, ghosted.


Most of the time this ghosting seems to involve a dating relationship in which a couple has grown close and then one person cuts the other out of his or her life by blocking social media contact, not answering phone calls or text messages and simply turning the other person into a ghost, someone who no longer exists in their life. (The St. Cloud Times)

While there is little information available on how people are effected by ghosting, there is considerable research on the effects of ostracism, social rejection, and the use of the so-called “silent treatment” as a passive-aggressive act. (The News and Tribune)

In an effort to make ghosting extinct by the end of the year, here are 20 different ways to tell someone you aren’t interested without just leaving them to figure it out on their own. (Cosmopolitan Magazine)

In the workplace, it might happen because younger workers don’t know how to respond to multiple job offers or just think ghosting is okay, especially if they’ve accepted another job offer or decided a role is wrong for them, HR Dive reported. (The Business Journals)

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