ex·​ile | \ ˈeg-ˌzī(-ə)l How to pronounce exile (audio) , ˈek-ˌsī(-ə)l How to pronounce exile (audio) \

Definition of exile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the state or a period of forced absence from one's country or home
b : the state or a period of voluntary absence from one's country or home
2 : a person who is in exile


exiled; exiling

Definition of exile (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to banish or expel from one's own country or home

Other Words from exile


exilic \ eg-​ˈzi-​lik How to pronounce exile (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for exile


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 exile in a Sentence

Noun They hoped that his exile would be temporary. Many chose to live as exiles rather than face persecution. Verb with their conquest of the Moors complete, Ferdinand and Isabella next exiled the Jews from Spain
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile, Milov, the dissident in self-exile, believes Potanin is just getting started. John Hyatt, Forbes, 5 May 2022 In his 10 novels, Gurnah has often explored the themes of exile, identity and belonging. New York Times, 7 Oct. 2021 Harry had returned from self-exile to Britain in April 2021 for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip. NBC News, 19 Apr. 2022 Boye has represented Catalan politicians in exile, including the former President Carles Puigdemont. Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 Demoralizing the remaining Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh into self-exile is the obvious goal. Simon Maghakyan, Time, 4 Apr. 2022 Pro-democracy media outlets have been shut down and most opposition figures are now in jail or in self-exile. Britt Clennett, ABC News, 4 Apr. 2022 Shehbaz’s brother, a former prime minister now in self-exile in London -- more than doubled to 55% in that time. Faseeh Mangi, Bloomberg.com, 3 Apr. 2022 Since the beginning writers have sought to capture the experience of the outsider, the exile, the parched traveler, the wanderer, the migrant. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The losses of invaders are as nothing next to the sufferings of ordinary Ukrainians, destroyed in their homes or starved to death; forced, if spared, to trek hundreds of miles to exile with only a few handheld bags per family. Nr Editors, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 Charismatic and earnest, she was adored for her image as a Decembrist’s wife — women who had given up their lives and followed their husbands to exile in Siberia. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 Kramer fired him and Foreman, now blacklisted, fled to exile in England. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Mar. 2022 As part of the deal, Diess was also able to exile a potential rival for the CEO spot. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 9 Dec. 2021 Only after a massively popular uprising did Marcos leave his post, fleeing in 1986 to exile in Hawaii until his death. Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2021 Shortly after winning Big Game, the Cardinal were informed that Santa Clara County banned contact sports in an attempt to stem a coronavirus surge and would exile the team. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Aug. 2021 Neither Heinze or Martinez have explained what prompted the former coach to exile the 2018 MLS MVP after his return in June from playing for Venezuela in Copa America. Matt Winkeljohn, Star Tribune, 20 July 2021 There is a scene in a Profile of Eileen Fisher where Fisher realizes, to her obvious dismay, that her attempt to exile one of her house cats has been seized upon by Malcolm as a minor sign of some obscure character flaw. The New Yorker, 17 June 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of exile


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for exile


Middle English exil, from Anglo-French essil, exil, from Latin exilium, from exul, exsul an exile

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Time Traveler for exile

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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exile. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for exile


ex·​ile | \ ˈeg-ˌzīl How to pronounce exile (audio) , ˈek-ˌsīl \

Kids Definition of exile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the situation of a person who is forced to leave his or her own country He's living in exile.
2 : the period of time someone is forced to live away from his or her country a 20 year exile
3 : a person who is forced to leave his or her own country


exiled; exiling

Kids Definition of exile (Entry 2 of 2)

: to force (someone) to leave his or her own country

More from Merriam-Webster on exile

Nglish: Translation of exile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exile for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about exile


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