os·tra·cism | \ˈä-strə-ˌsi-zəm \

Definition of ostracism 

1 : a method of temporary banishment by popular vote without trial or special accusation practiced in ancient Greece Ostracism of political opponents was a common practice in ancient Athens.

2 : exclusion by general consent from common privileges or social acceptance For years she suffered ostracism from the scientific community. Ostracism is a common fate for tell-all writers.— R. S. Coburn

Examples of ostracism in a Sentence

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Lieberman’s ostracism confirmed that the once-robust national security wing of the Democratic Party — the home of Cold War hawks like Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy, and Scoop Jackson — was defunct. Jeff Jacoby, BostonGlobe.com, "Your father’s Republican Party has vanished. His Democratic Party has, too," 11 June 2018 Dershowitz’s goes on to compare his ostracism to McCarthyism, the government sponsored anti-communist purge that saw thousands of alleged communists to lose their careers in the early 1950s. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Is Alan Dershowitz really a victim of Martha’s Vineyard McCarthyism?," 3 July 2018 The political left is now repeating that mistake as its cultural and political vanguard sends a message of condescension, hostility and now ostracism to anyone who voted for Mr. Trump or has worked with or for him for the good of the country. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "How to Re-Elect Trump," 24 June 2018 What the men didn’t know was that Williams was a social scientist who’d been looking for a way to study ostracism. Will Storr, The Cut, "How Scientists Invented a Test to Measure Hurt Feelings," 25 Apr. 2018 Professors fear retaliation; students worry about social ostracism. Paul S. Levy, WSJ, "University Boardrooms Need Reform," 10 June 2018 Bezos was born in 1964 New Mexico to a teenage mother, who faced ostracism for her pregnancy. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "Jeff Bezos opens up about his childhood—and ignores Miami | Miami Herald," 2 May 2018 Women continue to be retaliated against with damaging transfers, ostracism, and worse.’’ And despite the widespread action at the state level, antiharassment efforts have suffered some setbacks. David Crary, BostonGlobe.com, "After six months of #MeToo, hopes high for lasting effect," 31 Mar. 2018 To do all that would require a president to be largely hated by the Left, demonized by the media, and caricatured in popular culture — and few were willing to endure the commensurate ostracism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "President Nobama," 16 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of ostracism

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of ostracism was in 1588

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