ban·​ish | \ ˈba-nish How to pronounce banish (audio) \
banished; banishing; banishes

Definition of banish

transitive verb

1 : to require by authority to leave a country a dictator who banishes anyone who opposes him
2 : to drive out or remove from a home or place of usual resort or continuance He was banished from court. banishing her from the sport The reporters were banished to another room.
3 : to clear away : dispel his discovery banishes anxiety— Stringfellow Barr

Other Words from banish

banisher noun
banishment \ ˈba-​nish-​mənt How to pronounce banish (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for banish

banish, exile, deport, transport mean to remove by authority from a state or country. banish implies compulsory removal from a country not necessarily one's own. banished for seditious activities exile may imply compulsory removal or an enforced or voluntary absence from one's own country. a writer who exiled himself for political reasons deport implies sending out of the country an alien who has illegally entered or whose presence is judged inimical to the public welfare. illegal aliens will be deported transport implies sending a convicted criminal to an overseas penal colony. a convict who was transported to Australia

Examples of banish in a Sentence

He was banished for life. The dictator banished anyone who opposed him.
Recent Examples on the Web While Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will come too early for the two-dose vaccine to banish memories of last year's dark holiday season, millions of American kids could be fully protected by Christmas. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 4 Nov. 2021 Languishing in a dreary job at a London law office, 27-year-old Robert Martineau dreamed of an adventure to banish his boredom and malaise. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 Luckily, there’s a way to banish these IT bogeymen. Yoav Boaz, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 In the 1980s, users in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states started taking it recreationally to get an energy boost, banish fear and stay awake to study for exams, work, party or drive long distances. New York Times, 5 Dec. 2021 Jess makes a final pass with the Scotch-Brite One Step Disinfectant and Cleaner to banish any pet smells from couch cushions and disinfect things like handles, leaving a clean slate for lighting her favorite seasonal scented candle. Elizabeth Sheldon, Good Housekeeping, 2 Nov. 2021 The natural settings, devoid of sociological detail and inherently beautiful, tend to banish ironic readings and extend a certain benevolence to the naked subjects. The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 Popular for its boozy nature, some tejo purists are trying to banish the beer and get the sport into the Olympics. Lucy Sherriff, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 Azzopardi shares what leaders at Switch have been doing to banish burnout, and protect their high-potential employees. Alain Hunkins, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of banish

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for banish

Middle English banysshen "to condemn by proclamation to leave a country, exile, outlaw, expel, drive away," borrowed from Anglo-French baniss-, stem of banir "to proclaim, (of a king or noble) summon by a call to arms, condemn by proclamation to leave a country, exclude" (also continental Old French), going back to a Gallo-Romance adaptation of Old Low Franconian *bannjan, verbal derivative of *banna- "summon to arms by a lord" — more at ban entry 2

Note: Compare Medieval Latin bannīre, bandīre "to summon by public authority and compel performance of something" (this sense is already in the seventh-century Lex Ripuaria, the laws of the Ripuarian Franks), "to require by public authority, place under a prohibition, excommunicate." Compare also bandit.

Learn More About banish

Time Traveler for banish

Time Traveler

The first known use of banish was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near banish




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for banish

Last Updated

3 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Banish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for banish



English Language Learners Definition of banish

: to force (someone) to leave a country as punishment : exile
: to send (someone or something) away
: to cause (something) to go away : to get rid of (something)


ban·​ish | \ ˈba-nish How to pronounce banish (audio) \
banished; banishing

Kids Definition of banish

1 : to force to leave a country
2 : to cause to go away banish fears

More from Merriam-Webster on banish

Nglish: Translation of banish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banish for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!