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

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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 Here’s how to banish static electricity, naturally, in the dryer: Crumple a couple foot-long pieces of aluminum foil into tight balls and toss them into the dryer. Washington Post, 15 July 2021 Please try to banish those thoughts from your mind. John D. Sutter, CNN, 9 Aug. 2021 The anti-carbon left says the U.S. must banish fossil fuels to meet the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial temperatures. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 9 June 2021 However, awareness is not enough to banish unwanted behavior, Gopalakrishna says. Jop De Vrieze, Science | AAAS, 7 July 2021 The students famously published an interview with an academic who was critical of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, which caused the then-president of BYU to banish the publication from campus. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 June 2021 No one is capable of exercising the kind of self-control that could entirely banish the expression of private vanity, weakness, clutter, banality. The New Yorker, 17 June 2021 There are two approaches that don’t require us to choose one word and banish the other. Rob Tannenbaum, Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2021 Yet Adams beat his more progressive opponents with a double-edged message much like Biden’s as violent crime rates surged nationwide into a leading issue during the pandemic: Support the police but banish the brutality. Clarence Page,, 13 July 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.

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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.

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Time Traveler for banish

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

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Last Updated

31 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Banish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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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


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