spectre

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raise the specter of (something)

To make people aware of or worry about something unpleasant, dreadful, or terrifying. Primarily heard in US. The sudden dip in stock prices has raised the specter of another global recession with some investors. Throughout the Cold War, politicians raised the specter of Communism and the Iron Curtain over anything they thought to be "un-American."
See also: of, raise

the spectre at the feast

or

the ghost at the feast

BRITISH
If someone or something is the spectre at the feast or the ghost at the feast, they make people feel uncomfortable because they remind them of an unhappy event or situation. At the funeral, Lindsay had stood apart, the ultimate spectre at the feast. That question was the ghost at the feast and cast a shadow over the celebrations. Note: According to the Greek writer Plutarch, the Ancient Egyptians used to place a skeleton at the table during a feast, to remind them that they would die one day.
See also: feast, spectre

raise the ˈspectre of something

(British English) (American English raise the ˈspecter of something) make people afraid that something unpleasant might happen: The news of more cuts has raised the spectre of redundancies once again.
A spectre is an old word for a ghost.
See also: of, raise, something, spectre
References in classic literature ?
Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
In the Court of Miracles," replied a fourth spectre, who had accosted them.
Then down they had come at last to hover over City Hall Park, and it had crept in upon his mind,, chillingly, terrifyingly, that these illuminated black masses were great offices afire, and that the going to and fro of minute, dim spectres of lantern-lit grey and white was a harvesting of the wounded and the dead.
As Thar Ban rode noiselessly up the broad avenue which leads from the quays of Aaanthor to the great central plaza, he and his mount might have been mistaken for spectres from a world of dreams, so grotesque the man and beast, so soundless the great thoat's padded, nailless feet upon the moss-grown flagging of the ancient pavement.
He seized it now and swept it backwards and forwards in as large an area as he could, apparently to ban these ugly spectres, crying in a hoarse sort of screech--
And, as the spectres of his nightmare metamorphosed: "Hush, darling, talking to your dad like that, telling him the combing of your sweet and golden hair.
Thus passed the night so foul, till Morning fair Came forth with pilgrim steps, in amice grey, Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds, And griesly spectres, which the Fiend had raised To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
Or he may see intellectual spectres and phantoms that are cosmic and logical and that take the forms of syllogisms.
Directly we were through they came surging against the bars, silent, like a mob of ugly spectres.
You demonstrate yourself, so as to put yourself out of the reach of false relations, and you draw to you the first-born of the world,--those rare pilgrims whereof only one or two wander in nature at once, and before whom the vulgar great show as spectres and shadows merely.
In reality, he imagined so many spirits or devils were handling him; for his imagination being possessed with the horror of an apparition, converted every object he saw or felt into nothing but ghosts and spectres.
Then, hushing his footsteps, he passes to his own room, lights his pipe, and delivers himself to the Spectres it invokes at midnight.