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

transitive verb

: to require by authority to leave a country
a dictator who banishes anyone who opposes him
: 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.
: to clear away : dispel
his discovery banishes anxietyStringfellow Barr
banisher noun
banishment 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 At the end of the film, Lorraine learns the demon's name and manages to banish it to hell. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 8 Sep. 2023 May all the evils in your life be banished by goodness. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, 29 Aug. 2023 In many cases, sinks along with refrigerators are banished to the pantry so that her kitchens look more like entertainment spaces. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, 28 Aug. 2023 Critical thought was banished, and the pursuit of truth was forced to yield to the confirmation of biases and the promulgation of doctrines. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 When Thrawn was banished into hyperspace, Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), a Jedi in training, sacrificed himself and was sucked through the galaxy as well. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 22 Aug. 2023 They were banished to online classes, arrested, sent home, or encouraged to transfer to other schools in order to avoid punishment. Erin Einhorn, NBC News, 22 Aug. 2023 Even the toughest, set-in grease stains can be effectively banished with the help of a few household products and a little know-how. Maryal Miller Carter, USA TODAY, 16 Aug. 2023 Although jargon persists in the corporate world, directors are taking steps to banish it from the boardroom and beyond. Nick Rockel, Fortune, 15 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'banish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near banish

Cite this Entry

“Banish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ban·​ish ˈban-ish How to pronounce banish (audio)
: to force to leave a country
: to drive away
banish fears
banishment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on banish

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