os·​tra·​cism | \ ˈä-strə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce ostracism (audio) \

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

Recent Examples on the Web

The social ostracism that follows in conformist Japan for those suspected of a crime, and their families, means few people speak out. Washington Post, "Japan’s bare detention center holds many without convictions," 10 June 2019 At the time, many LGBT people lived in fear of arrest, harassment, professional ruin and family ostracism. Fox News, "NYPD apologizes for 1969 Stonewall raid that birthed modern LGBT rights movement," 7 June 2019 If the bully can’t be contained by the cajoling effects of ridicule or ostracism, the other men reach a consensus, make a plan and execute him. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 The anti-Trumpers are calling for purges and ostracism. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Anonymous Resistance," 6 Sep. 2018 Critics say his focus is too narrow, and elevates the rights of students who haven’t traditionally faced the most ostracism in schools. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Religion Looms Large for Education Official in Charge of Civil Rights," 28 July 2018 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

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for ostracism

The first known use of ostracism was in 1588

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More from Merriam-Webster on ostracism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ostracism

Spanish Central: Translation of ostracism

Nglish: Translation of ostracism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ostracism

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showing courage and determination

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