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[ban] /bæn/
verb (used with object), banned, banning.
to prohibit, forbid, or bar; interdict:
to ban nuclear weapons; The dictator banned all newspapers and books that criticized his regime.
  1. to pronounce an ecclesiastical curse upon.
  2. to curse; execrate.
the act of prohibiting by law; interdiction.
informal denunciation or prohibition, as by public opinion:
society's ban on racial discrimination.
  1. a proclamation.
  2. a public condemnation.
Ecclesiastical. a formal condemnation; excommunication.
a malediction; curse.
Origin of ban1
before 1000; Middle English bannen, Old English bannan to summon, proclaim; cognate with Old Norse banna to curse (probably influencing some senses of ME word), Old High German bannan; akin to Latin fārī to speak, Sanskrit bhanati (he) speaks
Related forms
bannable, adjective
unbanned, adjective
Can be confused
band, banned.
banns, bans.
1. taboo, outlaw, proscribe. 3. prohibition, proscription, interdict. 3, 4. taboo.
1. allow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for banned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bache tells us that pismire was also banned, antmire being substituted for it.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • He banned the obtruding priest by name and all his accomplices.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln Charles L. Marson
  • Martial law was imposed and Solidarity was banned in 1982 after dramatic confrontations at the Gdansk shipyards.

  • I'm so sick of hearing that man's name that I could wish it banned.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • These items are banned from carriage to China in British flag vessels.

    East-West Trade Trends Harold E. Stassen
British Dictionary definitions for banned


verb bans, banning, banned
(transitive) to prohibit, esp officially, from action, display, entrance, sale, etc; forbid: to ban a book, to ban smoking
(transitive) (formerly in South Africa) to place (a person suspected of illegal political activity) under a government order restricting his movement and his contact with other people
(archaic) to curse
an official prohibition or interdiction
(law) an official proclamation or public notice, esp of prohibition
a public proclamation or edict, esp of outlawry
(archaic) public censure or condemnation
(archaic) a curse; imprecation
Word Origin
Old English bannan to proclaim; compare Old Norse banna to forbid, Old High German bannan to command


(in feudal England) the summoning of vassals to perform their military obligations
Word Origin
C13: from Old French ban, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German ban command, Old Norse bannban1


noun (pl) bani (ˈbɑːnɪ)
a monetary unit of Romania and Moldova worth one hundredth of a leu
Word Origin
from Romanian, from Serbo-Croat bān lord
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for banned



Old English bannan "to summon, command, proclaim," from Proto-Germanic *bannan "proclaim, command, forbid" (cf. Old High German bannan "to command or forbid under threat of punishment," German bannen "banish, expel, curse"), originally "to speak publicly," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak" (cf. Old Irish bann "law," Armenian ban "word;" see fame (n.)).

Main modern sense of "to prohibit" (late 14c.) is from Old Norse cognate banna "to curse, prohibit," and probably in part from Old French ban, which meant "outlawry, banishment," among other things (see banal) and was a borrowing from Germanic. The sense evolution in Germanic was from "speak" to "proclaim a threat" to (in Norse, German, etc.) "curse."

The Germanic root, borrowed in Latin and French, has been productive, e.g. banish, bandit, contraband, etc. Related: Banned; banning. Banned in Boston dates from 1920s, in allusion to the excessive zeal and power of that city's Watch and Ward Society.


"edict of prohibition," c.1300, "proclamation or edict of an overlord," from Old English (ge)bann "proclamation, summons, command" and Old French ban, both from Germanic; see ban (v.).

"governor of Croatia," from Serbo-Croatian ban "lord, master, ruler," from Persian ban "prince, lord, chief, governor," related to Sanskrit pati "guards, protects." Hence banat "district governed by a ban," with Latinate suffix -atus. The Persian word got into Slavic perhaps via the Avars.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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