Ghosts vs. Spirits : According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of a ghost is “a disembodied soul; especially the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness.” It comes from the Old English gast; akin to the Old High German geist, meaning, “spirit.”
The word “spirit” is defined as “a supernatural being or essence; an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible; a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being.” It comes from the Latin spiritus, which means “breath.”
Most people throughout the world use the words “spirit” and “ghost” interchangeably. However, while both of these entities may be an apparition of a person no longer living, there exists a significant difference between the two. Spirits, which are generally regarded as “non-haunting apparitions,” appear to be aware of their surroundings and of the persons around them and observing them.
On the other hand, ghosts, which are regarded as “haunting apparitions,” seem to be completely unaware of their surroundings and of the presence of the living. And unlike spirits, which often manifest for a particular reason and might attempt to communicate with the living, a ghost typically haunts the same location (in most cases the scene of its death), repeating the same actions again and again, much like a series of images recorded on a videotape that are played back repeatedly.
Additionally, very few people who encounter a ghost during one of its hauntings ever report that the apparition tries to establish communication with them.
From : A Witch’s Guide to Ghosts and the Supernatural – By Gerina Dunwich