ex·​com·​mu·​ni·​ca·​tion | \ ˌek-skə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce excommunication (audio) \

Definition of excommunication

1 : an ecclesiastical censure depriving a person of the rights of church membership
2 : exclusion from fellowship in a group or community

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from excommunication

excommunicative \ ˌek-​skə-​ˈmyü-​nə-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce excommunicative (audio) , -​ni-​kə-​tiv \ adjective

Examples of excommunication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kaepernick’s protest — first sitting, then kneeling, during the anthem — and his subsequent excommunication from the NFL, sowed division among the league’s fans and, in the eyes of many, cheapened this weekend’s statement. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, "Years later, groundswell of sports figures and institutions follow Kaepernick's lead," 31 May 2020 This is an account of his excommunication from the inner circle by his friend of many years, the designer Karl Lagerfeld, before Lagerfeld died in 2019. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "André Leon Talley Corrects the Record," 19 May 2020 What did Riehl, Byers, Elvin Martin and Dale Martin do to merit excommunication? Tim Carman, Washington Post, "A Pennsylvania dairy was built on Mennonites’ trust and money. Now they’re left holding the bag.," 17 Dec. 2019 Today, that punishment would likely be excommunication, church officials say. Arizona Republic, "Bisbee man confesses he's molesting his daughter. Church tells bishop not to report abuse to authorities," 21 Apr. 2020 Those branded by computer algorithms with a low social-credit score face societal excommunication, including job loss, the inability to rent an abode, even exclusion from public transportation. Wesley J. Smith, National Review, "A Transhumanist Runs for President," 22 Feb. 2020 The seal of confession prevents priests from sharing information received during confession at risk of excommunication. Washington Post, "Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain," 13 Jan. 2020 Republicans know well by now that anyone who steps out of line in Trump's GOP faces near certain excommunication and humiliation, with a long trail of upended careers as proof in the likes of Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and Mark Sanford. NBC News, "The GOP impeachment wall: Why Republicans won't walk away from Trump," 9 Dec. 2019 But neither suffered the complete excommunication bestowed on CBS' 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special. Bill Higgins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Flashback: The 'Star Wars' Holiday Special Got Past George Lucas in 1978," 25 Dec. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of excommunication

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about excommunication

Time Traveler for excommunication

Time Traveler

The first known use of excommunication was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for excommunication

Last Updated

13 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Excommunication.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excommunication. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on excommunication

What made you want to look up excommunication? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!