ghost / give up the ghost

Ghost is of Germanic origin. It dates back to the Old English period and the word gast. The general sense of the word is a spirit or soul and it is used in various specific senses.

The earliest attested context is that of the soul of a dead person. From Bede’s Death-song, preserved in a ninth-century manuscript, but which may date to c.735:

...huaet his gastae godaes aeththa yflaes aefter deothdaege doemid uueorthae.
(...what his ghost, of good or of evil, after the death-day will be judged.)

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