ghost (the transitive verb)

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ghost (the transitive verb)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:26 pm

<2020 “Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making. Ghosted by their employers, members of the profession are facing ‘a full-blown humanitarian crisis — a Depression-level situation.’ . . . . . . . . .

The pandemic has had devastating consequences for a wide variety of occupations, but housekeepers have been among the hardest hit. Seventy-two percent of them reported that they had lost all of their clients by the first week of April, according to a survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The fortunate had employers who continued to pay them. The unlucky called or texted their employers and heard nothing back. They weren’t laid off so much as ghosted, en masse.”–New York Times, 18 September>
I have never heard ghost used as a transitive verb before and so I tried looking it up. The first place I usually check is Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary and they didn’t list it. I next checked The Oxford English Dictionary and they didn’t list it. This appears to be a relatively new expression! Upon further checking I found that a few dictionaries including, surprisingly, the standard Merriam-Webster Dictionary did list it:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary [[see sense 3]]

ghost transitive verb

1: to haunt like a ghost

2: GHOSTWRITE <ghosted the mayor's autobiography>

3: informal : to cut off all contact with (someone) : to subject (someone, such as a former romantic partner) to ghosting— see GHOSTING SENSE 2 <No one wants to be ghosted, mostly because it sucks to admit that the person you gushed about last week is now pretending you don't exist.>
GHOSTING SENSE 2, noun: <Romeo one minute, where'd he go the next? Ghosting is when you go poof and literally disappear out of someone's life without a word or explanation.>

Cambridge Dictionary

ghost verb transitive (END COMMUNICATION)

informal: to end a relationship with someone suddenly by stopping all communication with them: <Should I message her back or just ghost? <I couldn't understand why I'd been ghosted.> <She was furious about being ghosted by Dan.>

The following quotations were found in archived news sources:
<2015 “If you're dating someone and you decide to end it, there's a new, heartless way to break up with them. It's the act of ghosting: cutting off contact with them completely, ignoring their texts and their calls, and not providing an explanation for ending the relationship.”—, 18 August>

<2017 “I’ve done lots of online dating but have found it to be frustrating and discouraging. I have met guys online who have either ghosted or who are just unresponsive.”—The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 17 June, page B3>

<2018 “She and her children essentially ‘ghosted’ their paternal grandparents, which was a source of great pain for my late father.”—The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), 14 May, page E8>

<2019 “A few years ago, friends of many years ghosted me, for no apparent reason. . . . Sometimes people ghost others because it would not be safe for them to actually say ‘goodbye,’ but mainly – ghosting is an act of social cowardice. The person being ghosted is supposed to catch on over time that the relationship is a non-starter, is over. Both parties are expected to move on.”— Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), 14 December, page C6>

<2020 “The hashtag #boycottvrbo on Twitter turns up a litany of grievances from quests being ghosted to getting paltry refunds . . .”—Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), 1 April, page 2-1>

Ken Greenwald — September 20, 2020

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