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banshee

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noun ban·shee \ˈban-(ˌ)shē, ban-ˈ\

Simple Definition of banshee

  • : a female spirit in Irish and Scottish stories who cries loudly to warn people that someone is going to die soon

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of banshee

  1. :  a female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance or wailing warns a family that one of them will soon die

Examples of banshee in a sentence

  1. I heard someone wailing like a banshee.



Did You Know?

In Irish folklore, a "bean sidhe" (literally "woman of fairyland") was not a welcome guest. When she was seen combing her hair or heard wailing beneath a window, it was considered a sign that a family member was about to die. English speakers modified the mournful fairy's Irish name into the modern word banshee - a term we now most often use to evoke her woeful or terrible or earsplitting cry, as in "to scream like a banshee," or attributively, "a banshee wail."

Origin and Etymology of banshee

Irish bean sídhe & Scottish Gaelic bean sìth, literally, woman of fairyland


First Known Use: 1771

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


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