banshee

noun ban·shee \ ˈban-(ˌ)shē , ban-ˈ \

Definition of banshee

:a female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance or wailing warns a family that one of them will soon die
  • We heard someone screaming like a banshee.

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Examples of banshee in a Sentence

  1. I heard someone wailing like a banshee.

Recent Examples of banshee from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banshee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In Irish folklore, a "bean sidhe" (literally "woman of fairyland") was not a welcome guest. When she was seen combing her hair or heard wailing beneath a window, it was considered a sign that a family member was about to die. English speakers modified the mournful fairy's Irish name into the modern word banshee - a term we now most often use to evoke her woeful or terrible or earsplitting cry, as in "to scream like a banshee," or attributively, "a banshee wail."

Origin and Etymology of banshee

Irish bean sídhe & Scottish Gaelic bean sìth, literally, woman of fairyland

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


BANSHEE Defined for English Language Learners

banshee

noun

Definition of banshee for English Language Learners

  • : a female spirit in Irish and Scottish stories who cries loudly to warn people that someone is going to die soon


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pleasing or sweet sound

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