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 The vitriol in Jamestown spiked with the rise of groups campaigning across the United States to banish texts with LGBTQ characters, accusing authors, teachers and librarians of trying to brainwash the nation’s youth. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022 May Diwali bring enough light to banish all the darkness from your life. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, 18 Aug. 2022 The right one can banish the ambivalent scent of body wash and pod coffee and imbue your cubicle and conference room with a sense of intention. Justin Fenner, Robb Report, 18 May 2022 And when a phone went off — loud — in the middle of Fields’ final confrontation with the dentist, the court deputy looked ready to banish the culprit for the remainder of the proceedings. Matt Sullivan, Rolling Stone, 2 Aug. 2022 Whether dealing with melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or any kind of dark spot that won't fade, many incredible products on the market can banish them for good. ELLE, 22 July 2022 Your work has to stand out, or the audience will banish it (rightly) to the black hole of blandness. Lindsay Tjepkema, Forbes, 15 June 2022 While the court’s rulings are considered credible, it is perceived at times as rubber-stamp for the outcome of a civil war or power struggle by helping the victors banish their opponents to a faraway prison. New York Times, 10 Apr. 2022 To banish tired eyes, caffeine is useful for depuffing under-eye bags and draining away water retention. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Banish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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

More Definitions for banish


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

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!