So THAT's Why There's An 'H' In Ghost

It's a "historical hiccup".

While we’re all feeling in a spooky kind of mood, word queen Susie Dent has reshared what she calls one of her ‘favourite’ stories: the history behind the spelling of the word ‘ghost’.

So, it turns out that the ‘h’ in ghost... kind of shouldn’t be there.

Describing the letter as a “historical hiccup”, Dent explained: “William Caxton, having first practised his trade in Flanders, brought Flemish typesetters back to England to help set up his printing press - they lobbed an ‘h’ into English ‘gost’ because their own native word was ‘gheest’”.

In a later tweet, Dent clarified that the words ‘aghast’ and ‘ghastly’ were both in turn influenced by that ‘h’ and were actually ‘agast’ and ‘gastly’.

However, according to Mental Floss, these weren’t the only words that were changed — the words ‘goose’, ‘goat’, and ‘girl’ all had a sneaky little ‘h’ added but they didn’t stick.

As for the similarly spooky word ‘ghoul’? It actually originates from the Arabic ‘ghul’ which refers to an evil spirit that digs up graves and eats the dead. The word was only made into the spelling we use today because of its semantic similarity to ghost.

Happy Halloween!