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 That fantasy, of course, involves not only the desire to rid the nation of Black and brown people, but aims to banish us and the issue of race from the nation’s moral conscience. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., TIME, 15 Apr. 2024 In that final episode, Jon Snow was banished to live out his days on the Wall in the North for killing Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). Nick Romano,, 9 Apr. 2024 Runners-up again for the Boilermakers The Midwest Region champion, Purdue, was trying to banish prior demons in a quest for its first national championship title. Steve Almasy, CNN, 9 Apr. 2024 Its readily available warming power seemed to banish doubts that spring had made secure its foothold here. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 Weber joined Season 2 of Peacock’s competition series as a Faithful, someone who is covertly working to sniff out the three Traitors within the cast and banish them out to take home the cash prize. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 5 Mar. 2024 Twelve-year-old Nuri lives with his father Kemal Pasha, a leftist dissident banished from an unnamed country, in a listless family apartment in Cairo. Hazlitt, 3 Apr. 2024 Besides the citrusy aroma, there’s a lot to love about the eco-friendly subscription service, including the reusable spray bottles—and the fact that just a small spritz of multi-surface, all-purpose cleaner is enough to banish grease from your cooktop. Tiffany Hopkins, Bon Appétit, 25 Mar. 2024 Commander was banished from the White House last fall to an undisclosed location. Peter Baker, New York Times, 21 Feb. 2024

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 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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