Pronunciation: ['dah-pêl-geyn-gêr] Listen
Definition: A ghostly, haunting counterpart or double of a living person; an alter ego. Marginally, a person with the same name as another.
Usage: Doppelgänger can also be spelt without the umlaut as "doppelganger" in English. Doppelgängers appear predominantly in belles lettres. Flannery O'Connor's novel "Wise Blood" uses several doppelgängers both physical and spiritual, including a car used as home, bed and murder weapon, to develop the soul of her main character. Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" is about a doppelgänger in the first sense of today's word: a ghostly, haunting double.
Suggested Usage: You could use this word when speaking sardonically of someone else's love interest: "I realize that you and Broderick are doppelgängers, but could you please grace us with your individual presence tonight?" And use it seriously when speaking to your own beloved: "We are absolute doppelgängers; we always know each other's emotions and minds."
Etymology: German compound noun Doppelgänger from Doppel "double" + Gänger "goer." Gänger comes from gehen "go," akin to the Old English "gan" that ultimately became "go." The Old Germanic noun, gatwon "going," led to Old Norse gata "path," Old Swedish gata "lane," and Modern English "gate." Another variant produced "gait." (Thanks to Steve Cockrill—or was it his doppelgänger?—for calling our attention to this word, borrowed directly from German with only an umlaut gone missing.) http://www.yourdictionary.com/wotd/wotd.pl?da...doppelganger, doppelgänger, Doppelgänger, doubleganger, double-ganger n.
"double goer": the ghost or wraith of a living person; a double; alter ego; a person who has the same name as another. See further example under eigen-. See also Merriam-Webster Word for the Wise, The Mavens' Word of the Day [http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/?date=20010515
]and yourDictionary.com Word of the Day. (Somehow everyone seems to love this word!)
* "Mullin discussed several aspects of individual stories in Strange Meeting: the title story, in which a mysterious doppelgänger abducts a scholar obsessed with Dante's Inferno; 'The Lord of Close Vicinity,' a meditation on the return of Columbus to the Old World, 'The History of London,' in which someone tries to records everything that happened in a single day in that city." David Czuchlewski, The Muse Asylum, 2001, p. 13.
* "'The two women are either related – twins, even – or they're lookalikes. Well, that's obvious, Doppelgangers.'" Martha Grimes, The Stargazey: A Richard Jury Mystery, 1998, p. 147. This quote suggested by Volker Knopp.
* "Ghostly horror by Stephen King's doppelganger." from a review by the San Francisco Chronicle in Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman, Desperation, 1996, p. 548.
* "The spells resorted to get rid of his supposed delusions are alternative that of turning the cloak -- (recommended in visions of the second-sight or similar illusions as a means of obtaining a certainty concerning the being which is before imperfectly seen*) -- and that of exorcising the spirit with a cudgel which last, Corbett prudently thinks, ought not to be resorted to unless under an absolute conviction that the exorcist is the stronger party.
* double-ganger. [footnote]" Sir Walter Scott, Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 1884, p. 148.
* "A species of apparition, similar to what the Germans call a Double-Ganger, was believed in by the Celtic tribes, and is still considered as an emblem of misfortune or death." Walter Scott, A Legend of Montrose.
* "I could scarcely believe that it was I,--that figure whom they called a Consul,--but a sort of Double Ganger, who had been permitted to assume my aspect, under which he went through his shadowy duties with a tolerable show of efficiency, while my real self had lain, as regarded my proper mode of being and acting, in a state of suspended animation." Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home: A Series of English Sketches, 1883.
* "'And she will never allow Slitscan to run that footage of your doppelgänger.'" William Gibson, Idoru, 1997, p. 363.http://humanlanguages.com/germanenglish/rlgd.htm