Discussion in 'English Only' started by guest1010, Jun 15, 2005.
can someone explain this phrase to me?
Hello again, guest! Could you provide us with some context for this expression, too?
Well, most of the time it's used to explain that something or someone from your past reappeared into your life, bringing less than joyful memories. E.g.: I was at the train station and I suddenly saw my boss from when I was 19 years old. It made me remember what a terrible job I had then. What a ghost from the past! Or, I'd rather keep the ghosts from my past locked away.
You could somewhat compare it with "a glimpse of the future" although this last expression doesn't have a negative meaning per se.
I use this phrase but I've never put a negative sense to it. "A ghost from the past" to me is a person you haven't seen for a long time, that's all. It can be friend or foe.
If I go to a party and see someone I haven't seen for years, I could say, "Wow! a ghost from the past! How've you been? Long time no see!"
Have I been using this wrong all this time?
I don't think so, Jacinta. I agree with you. It could be a friendly ghost or an unfriendly ghost.
Like Solved, I would use it with the negative connotation, but I'm not sure enough of that to say anybody's wrong, especially if you're saying it to someone with a happy grin! But it seems to me a much milder form of the skeleton in the closet (which was wandering around here recently too).
Although I'd thought of it as having a negative connotation, I think it's fine to use it as you have too, jacinta. Here's an article I found online with the expression:
I'm with you guys. I recently thought I saw someone who was very dear to me many, many years ago and I used the expression. It was quite pleasant.
The article that you have pointed out, lgs, is kind-of negative--
When it's someone from my past who I haven't seen in a long time, I'd say it was a blast from the past! A ghost from the past makes me think that it was something I'd rather leave in the past and is now haunting me.
If someone were to use it when seeing me and had a pleasant outlook, I probably wouldn't think much about it--until later....
....Then if it was someone I thought I felt comfortable with, I might say, "What exactly did you mean when you said I was a ghost from the past?
Maybe you aren't old enough yet Mjscott. Wait till you meet someone you haven't seen in the last 50 years. Then the idea of ''ghost from the past'' may have a different meaning.
Interesting...I almost wrote exactly the same thing, mj! I wonder if "blast from the past" is AE only?
I use 'ghost from the past'..to describe 'someone' that I have not seen in a while..(good memory and bad)...'Wow..I ran into John today..you know that cute guy I dated in high school...now he has 10 kids..is bald..and put on about 300 pounds..what a ghost from the past'...
I use 'blast from the past' to describe 'something' that I did in the past...(good memory and bad)...'Hey! listen to that song...it is from that concert we went to back in 1970..remember?...what a blast from the past'..
Does this expression have anything at all to do with "the ghost from Christmas Past" that appears in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas carol"? It probably doesn't, but at least the image of the said ghost was a nice one, reminder of happier times...
I bet it does, it sure sound pretty close.
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