What does the expression “the ghost walks” mean and Where does it come from?

Salaries are to he paid! The expression is now heard in any line of business:

“Friday’s the day the ghost walks.” “The ghost walks on the fifteenth of each month.”

The “ghost” is the paymaster, nowadays, or the cashier or whoever may be the distributor of salary or wage. But the expression arose in the theater some ninety years ago, in a profession in which salaries were uncertain and at a time when the whims of the manager might lead to slow pay.

The most probable origin of the expression credits it to the actor who, in Hamlet, had the part of the ghost of Hamlet’s father.

According to the story, when Hamlet spoke the lines, “I will watch tonight; Perchance t’will walk again,” the actor playing the ghost, off stage, shouted back, “I’ll be damned if he will unless our salaries are paid.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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