American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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.
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. It has its name from the tablet of earthenware (ostrakon) on which every voter wrote the name of the person be desired to ostracize. Ostracism was practised in some other democratic states of Greece, as Argos and Megara, but the method of its administration, except in Athens, remains obscure. Compare
- n. Hence Banishment in general; expulsion; separation: as, social ostracism (banishment from good society).
- n. Exclusion from a community or society.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Gr. Antiq.) 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.
- 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)
- From Ancient Greek ὀστρακισμός (otrakismos, "banishment by means of voting with pot shards"), from ὀστρακίζειν ("ostracize") + -ισμός ("-ism"). (Wiktionary)
- French ostracisme, from Greek ostrakismos, from ostrakizein, to ostracize; see ostracize. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The word ostracism comes from the Greek word signifying”
“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.”
“From this practice derives the modern word ostracism”
“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.”
“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.”
“The ritual impurity of a sin also can have social consequences such as stigma or ostracism, which is likewise removed though expiation.”
“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.”
“This, which has been called the ostracism of a saintly genius, undoubtedly was due to his former friends, Ward and Manning.”
“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.”
“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.”
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