ostracism

noun
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

It’s unclear if other nations have the appetite to push back against Iran in a years-long campaign, or how Tehran might respond to such sustained ostracism. Alex Ward, Vox, "The weekend in the risky US-Iran standoff, explained," 24 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ostracism

Statistics for ostracism

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ostracism

The first known use of ostracism was in 1588

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ostracism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ostracism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ostracism

Spanish Central: Translation of ostracism

Nglish: Translation of ostracism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ostracism

Comments on ostracism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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