\ ˈban How to pronounce ban (audio) \
banned; banning

Definition of ban

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : 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
2 : bar sense 3c banned from the U.N.
3 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 ban— Joseph Rodman Drake


noun (1)

Definition of ban (Entry 2 of 3)

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


noun (2)
\ ˈbän How to pronounce ban (audio) \
plural bani\ ˈbä-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce ban (audio) \

Definition of ban (Entry 3 of 3)

: a monetary subunit of the leu — see leu at Money Table

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ban

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun (1)

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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.
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First Known Use of ban


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

History and Etymology for ban


Middle English bannen to summon, curse, from Old English bannan to summon; akin to Old High German bannan to command, Latin fari to speak, Greek phanai to say, phōnē sound, voice

Noun (1)

Middle English, partly from bannen & partly from Old French ban, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German bannan to command

Noun (2)

Romanian, money, coin, small coin

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Time Traveler for ban

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ban

Cite this Entry

“Ban.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for ban



English Language Learners Definition of ban

: to forbid people from using (something) : to say that something cannot be used or done
: to forbid (someone) from doing or being part of something


\ ˈban How to pronounce ban (audio) \
banned; banning

Kids Definition of ban

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to forbid especially by law or social pressure Smoking was banned.



Kids Definition of ban (Entry 2 of 2)

: an official order forbidding something
banned; banning

Legal Definition of ban

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



Legal Definition of ban (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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