Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of banishing or excluding.
  • n. Banishment or exclusion from a group; disgrace.
  • n. In Athens and other cities of ancient Greece, the temporary banishment by popular vote of a citizen considered dangerous to the state.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Exclusion from a community or society.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Banishment by popular vote, -- a means adopted at Athens to rid the city of a person whose talent and influence gave umbrage.
  • n. Banishment; exclusion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A political measure employed under restrictions of law among the ancient Athenians, by which citizens whose presence seemed embarrassing to the state were banished by public vote for a term of ten years, with leave to return to the enjoyment of their estates at the end of the period.
  • n. Hence Banishment in general; expulsion; separation: as, social ostracism (banishment from good society).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of excluding someone from society by general consent
  • n. the state of being banished or ostracized (excluded from society by general consent)

Etymologies

French ostracisme, from Greek ostrakismos, from ostrakizein, to ostracize; see ostracize.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ὀστρακισμός (otrakismos, "banishment by means of voting with pot shards"), from ὀστρακίζειν ("ostracize") + -ισμός ("-ism"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word ostracism comes from the Greek word signifying

    A Complete Grammar of Esperanto

  • Social ostracism from the family of nations with all that it would involve would be the sufficient penalty, so sufficient that it would never have to be invoked against any of those who resorted to the court.

    The Supreme Court of the World

  • From this practice derives the modern word ostracism

    CreationWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • And I’m with Ibrahim (apart from the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy – I think ostracism is a sufficient punishment) on most of those issues.

    Swamp Thing

  • What has been happening to Muslims, Middle Easterners, and South Asians in the United States in the wake of 9/11 is a process of ostracism from the American community -- a de-Americanization process -- that we have witnessed before.

    Bill Ong Hing: Vigilante Racism and the De-Americanization of Muslim Americans

  • The ritual impurity of a sin also can have social consequences such as stigma or ostracism, which is likewise removed though expiation.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • And yet the number is steadily increasing who quietly undertake herculean tasks for their fellow-men, knowing that they will be neither appreciated nor understood, but, instead, will have to suffer social ostracism, which is sometimes quite as hard to endure as physical martyrdom.

    The Ascent of the Soul

  • This, which has been called the ostracism of a saintly genius, undoubtedly was due to his former friends, Ward and Manning.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • No just man voted for the banishment of Aristides because he was always called the Just; but his ostracism was the decree of those who knew that they could obtain no reputation for justice till he were put out of their way.

    A Manual of Moral Philosophy

  • At this time he was about to resort to the proceeding called ostracism, by which from time to time the Athenians force into exile those citizens who are remarkable for influence and power, rather because they envy them than because they fear them.

    Plutarch's Lives, Volume I

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Besides, these disciples had nothing to gain except criticism, ostracism, and martyrdom." (The Case for Christ, 48)

    October 18, 2010