- a ghost
- the spectral figure of a person supposedly seen as a premonition just before that person's death
Origin of wraithScot, earlier warth, guardian angel from Old Norse v?rthr, guardian from vartha, to ward, guard: for Indo-European base see ward
- An apparition of someone that is believed to appear as a portent just before that person's death.
- The ghost of a dead person.
- Something faint or insubstantial: “The wraith of a hollow laugh issued silently from his parted lips” ( F. Scott Fitzgerald )
Origin of wraithOrigin unknown
The first attestation dates to 1513, in the Middle Scots translation alone of Aeneid: "Nor áµ¹it na vayn wrathys nor gaiftis quent Thi char conftrenyt bakwart forto went," "Syklyke as that, thai fay, in diuers placis The wraithis walkis of goiftis that ar ded," "Thydder went this wrath or fchaddo of Ene, That femyt, all abafyt, faft to fle,".
The word has no certain etymology. J. R. R. Tolkien favored a link with writhe. Also compared are Scottish Gaelic warth and Old Norse vÃ¶rÃ°r (“watcher, guardian"), whence Icelandic vÃ¶rÃ°ur (“guard"). See wray/wreien and bewray; therefore "fama..figuras" becomes "wraithis".