Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


or banshie

[ban-shee, ban-shee] /ˈbæn ʃi, bænˈʃi/
(in Irish folklore) a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.
Origin of banshee
1765-75; < Irish bean sīdhe woman of a fairy mound; see sídh Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for banshee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When you're going right it sounds a pass between a peanut roaster and a banshee with bronchitis.

    Half Portions Edna Ferber
  • But that was the last act of destruction that the banshee was destined to accomplish.

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • She dug her little heel into the ground to show how she would crush the banshee.

  • The banshee corked the bottle and held it up proudly to the light.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • The figure waved her arms towards the house, and my mother heard the bitter wailing of the banshee.

  • I thought it might be a banshee, if thair is that crayther in this counthry.

    The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid
  • Presently he heard the long-drawn, quavering, banshee wail of a locomotive.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • He marched his men up, with the thin wailing of a banshee in his ears.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
British Dictionary definitions for banshee


/ˈbænʃiː; bænˈʃiː/
(in Irish folklore) a female spirit whose wailing warns of impending death
Word Origin
C18: from Irish Gaelic bean sídhe, literally: woman of the fairy mound
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for banshee

1771, from phonetic spelling of Irish bean sidhe "female of the Elves," from bean "woman" (from PIE *gwen-; see queen) + sidhe, from sith "fairy" or sid "fairy mound." Specifically, one who calls to the spirits of the dead.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for banshee

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for banshee

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for banshee