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banned; banning; bans

transitive verb

: to prohibit especially by legal means
ban discrimination
Is smoking banned in all public buildings?
also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of
ban a book
ban a pesticide
: bar entry 2 sense 3c
banned from the U.N.
archaic : curse
It is a hard fate … to be banned … by the world, only because one has sought to be wiser than the world is.Edward Bulwer Lytton

intransitive verb

archaic : to utter curses or condemnations
The serious world will scold and banJoseph Rodman Drake


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noun (1)

plural bans
: legal or formal prohibition
a ban on beef exports
: censure or condemnation especially through social pressure
was under ban for her political views
religion : anathema, excommunication
under the pope's ban
: malediction, curse
uttered a ban upon his enemies
: the summoning in feudal times of the king's vassals for military service


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noun (2)

plural bani ˈbä-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce ban (audio)
: a monetary subunit of the leu see leu at Money Table

Examples of ban in a Sentence

Verb The school banned that book for many years. The city has banned smoking in all public buildings. The drug was banned a decade ago. The use of cell phones is banned in the restaurant.
Recent Examples on the Web
Advertisement The practice is banned in the United Kingdom, European Union and Canada, where fears of spreading bovine spongiform encephalitis — mad cow disease — made such practices seem too risky. Susanne Rust, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2024 Fishermen The same week as Dungeness crab season is cut short to protect whales, federal regulators ban all salmon fishing off California for the second year in a row due to low numbers following the state’s recent drought. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, 14 Apr. 2024 Later that year, New Jersey adopted a unified rule set, banning blows to the back of the head and spine or strikes to the throat, ahead of other states following suit. Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Apart from a few photographs at the start of the day, cameras are banned from the room once the proceedings begin. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 13 Apr. 2024 The bill also bans local governments from requiring contractors to offer anything higher than the statewide minimum wage, which is currently $12 an hour and is set to rise to $13 an hour in September. Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 12 Apr. 2024 Twenty-two states, including Missouri, ban gender-affirming care for minors. Jenna Barackman, Kansas City Star, 12 Apr. 2024 Bitcoin mining is notorious for consuming energy, leading to concerns among climate activists seeking to ban it. Vinamrata Chaturvedi, Quartz, 12 Apr. 2024 The Florida law that takes effect in 30 days bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Romy Ellenbogen, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024
Among them is a statewide ban on watering non-functional turf, which is expected to lead to considerable water savings. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2024 Last year, the court chose not to hear two disputes related to transgender issues, one involving mistreatment of a transgender prisoner and one about a state ban on trans students' participation in sports. Nina Totenberg, NPR, 15 Apr. 2024 Wieland Hoban — the chairman of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, which co-organized the event — said the organizers had not been informed in advance that Salman Abu Sitta was under a speaking ban. Loveday Morris, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2024 In 2018, however, Trump pushed for a federal ban on all abortions after 20 weeks. David Jackson, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2024 After two weeks, Alliance Defending Freedom, which won the case before the state's top court, said the ban could begin being enforced. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 12 Apr. 2024 Rokita, who is running for re-election, accused state health officials of trying to evade the ban. Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Apr. 2024 The measures have targeted the energy sector, banks, the world’s biggest diamond-mining company, businesses and markets, and subjected Russian officials — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — to asset freezes and travel bans. Samuel Petrequin, Fortune Europe, 11 Apr. 2024 However, several countries, including the United Kingdom and France, have expressed caution, supporting a moratorium or ban on deep-sea mining to safeguard marine ecosystems and conserve biodiversity. Katie Hunt, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ban.' 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 bannen "to summon (troops) by proclamation, assemble (an armed force), gather (arms), curse, anathematize, prohibit, outlaw," going back to Old English bannan (class VII strong verb) "to summon by proclamation, call to arms," going back to Germanic *bannan- "to speak formally, call on, order" (whence also Old Frisian bonna, banna "to call upon, command, place under a ban," Old Saxon & Old High German bannan "to summon, order," Old Norse banna "to prohibit, curse"), going back to Indo-European *bho-n-h2-e-, presumed o-grade intensive derivative (with gemination from a present formation with *-nu̯-e-?) from a verbal base *bheh2- "speak, say," whence also Latin for, fārī "to speak, say," Greek phēmí, phánai, Armenian bay "(s/he) says, speaks," and with extensions Eastern Church Slavic baju, bajati "to tell (stories), cast a spell, cure," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian bȁjati "to tell tales, practice sorcery," Sanskrit bhánati "(s/he) speaks, says, (it) sounds"

Note: The senses "curse, anathematize, prohibit," etc., in Middle English are not attested in Old English and are generally thought to reflect influence of the cognate Old Norse verb. The English verb has also been influenced in sense by Medieval Latin bannīre and Old French banir (see banish). — The reconstruction of the source of Germanic *bannan- in Indo-European terms is from G. Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Brill, 2013), though any number of alternative reconstructions are possible that result in the new verbal base *bann-. Indo-European *bheh2- "speak, say" is phonetically identical with and probably a semantic offshoot of the base *bheh2- "shine, give light, appear" (see fantasy entry 1); the presumed sense in shift would be "shine, give light" > "make bright, illuminate" > "make clear, clarify" > "speak, say."

Noun (1)

Middle English ban, bane, banne "proclamation by an authority, summons, one of the marriage banns, troop of warriors summoned by their overlord," in part noun derivative of bannen "to summon (troops) by proclamation," in part borrowed from Anglo-French ban, baan "proclamation, edict, jurisdiction, one of the marriage banns" (also continental Old French, "summons to arms by a lord, proclamation commanding or prohibiting an action"), going back to Old Low Franconian *banna-, going back to Germanic (whence also Old Frisian bon, ban, bān "order commanding or prohibiting under pain of a fine, authority, summoning of the army, banishment," Old Saxon bann "command, summons, fine, excommunication," Old High German ban "command by an authority, order, legal extension or withdrawal of protection"), noun derivative of *bannan- "to speak formally, call on, order" — more at ban entry 1

Note: The Middle English noun may also continue Old English gebann, gebenn "edict, proclamation, command," a derivative of gebannan, similar in meaning to unprefixed bannan. The negative senses "prohibition, condemnation," etc., though present to a limited degree already in early Medieval Latin, do not appear in English (or French) until the sixteenth century, and are in part derived from the verb ban entry 1. The Germanic etymon appears in Latin as bannus (or bannum), from the sixth century in Gregory of Tours' Historia Francorum, and the seventh century in the Lex Ripuaria, the laws of the Ripuarian Franks; the Latin word went on to develop a broad range of meanings (compare the entries in J.F. Niermeyer, Mediae Latinitatis lexicon minus and Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources).

Noun (2)

Romanian, money, coin, small coin

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

Noun (2)

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ban was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ban

Cite this Entry

“Ban.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
banned; banning
: to forbid especially by law or social pressure


2 of 2 noun
: an official order forbidding something

Legal Definition


1 of 2 transitive verb
banned; banning
: to prohibit or forbid especially by legal means (as by statute or order)
ban solicitation
also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of
legislation to ban DDT


2 of 2 noun
: prohibition especially by statute or order
a ban on automatic weapons

More from Merriam-Webster on ban

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