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 Themes of ostracism — mostly that of intelligent young women — emerge anew; some of the characters want to become actresses, but don’t fit in with their fellow actors or meet the casting director’s needs. Heidi Pitlor, New York Times, "In a New Collection of Old Stories, Madeleine L’Engle Is Back," 21 Apr. 2020 What undoubtedly works here is Thorpe’s portrait of teenage ostracism. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The rich are still different in the South Bay novel ‘The Knockout Queen’," 21 Apr. 2020 They were warned in the party press, harangued by their constituents, and sent dire warnings threatening political ostracism and even assassination. Mike Pence, WSJ, "A Partisan Impeachment, a Profile in Courage," 16 Jan. 2020 But the result could still be ostracism at school or work. Los Angeles Times, "Back from quarantine in China, Taiwanese fear discrimination at home," 10 Apr. 2020 And what can be done to purge the conformism that deters complaints about toxic colleagues, for fear of ostracism or career setbacks? The Economist, "Walking on by Why do so many people fail to do what they know is right?," 8 Apr. 2020 But that did not stop them from despairing over their own status as a reservoir of infection, or fearing ostracism. Amy Harmon, New York Times, "We Spoke to Six Americans With Coronavirus," 10 Mar. 2020 Yet rarely do Western activist groups call for global ostracism of Iran. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cult of West-Shaming," 30 Jan. 2020 These issues localize around Kat's isolated teen sister Serena and her spitfire best friend Jenn (Amanda Zhou), two young people facing social ostracism within their skating club for disparate reasons. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Spinning Out': TV Review," 31 Dec. 2019

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

History and Etymology for ostracism

borrowed from New Latin ostracismus, borrowed from Greek ostrakismós, from ostrakízein "to ostracize" + -ismos -ism

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Time Traveler for ostracism

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The first known use of ostracism was in 1588

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Cite this Entry

“Ostracism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostracism. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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