Hantu is the Malay and Indonesian word for spirit or ghost. In modern usage it generally means spirits of the dead but has also come to refer to any legendary invisible being, such as demons. In its traditional context the term also referred to animistic nature spirits or ancestral souls. The word is derived from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *qanitu and Proto-Austronesian *qaNiCu. Cognates in other Austronesian languages include the Micronesian aniti, Nage nitu, Tao anito, Taivoan alid, Seediq and Atayal utux, Bunun hanitu or hanidu, Polynesian aitu or atua, and Tsou hicu among Taiwanese aborigines. In terms of concept and place in traditional folklore, it is most similar to the Filipino anito.
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