Definition of ostracize
1 : to exile by ostracism <Despite his victories, Themistocles was ostracized by the Athenians.>
2 : to exclude from a group by common consent <a lonely dissenter, ostracized as an enemy of the people — Robert Brustein>
Examples of ostracize in a sentence
She was ostracized from the scientific community for many years because of her radical political beliefs.
The other girls ostracized her because of the way she dressed.
Did You Know?
In ancient Greece, prominent citizens whose power or influence threatened the stability of the state could be exiled by a practice called ostracism. Voters would elect to banish another citizen by writing that citizen's name down on a potsherd. Those receiving enough votes would then be subject to temporary exile from the state (usually for ten years). The English verb ostracize can mean "to exile by the ancient method of ostracism," but these days it usually refers to the general exclusion of one person from a group at the agreement of its members. Ostracism and ostracize derive from the Greek ostrakizein ("to banish by voting with potsherds"). Its ancestor, the Greek ostrakon ("shell" or "potsherd"), also helped to give English the word oyster.
Origin and Etymology of ostracize
Greek ostrakizein to banish by voting with potsherds, from ostrakon shell, potsherd — more at oyster
First Known Use: 1649
OSTRACIZE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ostracize for English Language Learners
: to not allow (someone) to be included in a group : to exclude (someone) from a group
OSTRACIZE Defined for Kids
Definition of ostracize for Students
: to shut out of a group <After I cheated, I was ostracized by the other players.>
Seen and Heard
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