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exorcise

or ex·or·cize

[ek-sawr-sahyz, -ser-]
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verb (used with object), ex·or·cised, ex·or·cis·ing.
  1. to seek to expel (an evil spirit) by adjuration or religious or solemn ceremonies: to exorcise a demon.
  2. to free (a person, place, etc.) of evil spirits or malignant influences.

Origin of exorcise

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin exorcizāre < Greek exorkízein, equivalent to ex- ex-3 + (h)orkízein to cause (someone) to swear an oath
Related formsex·or·cise·ment, nounex·or·cis·er, nounun·ex·or·cised, adjective
Can be confusedexercise exorcise (see synonym study at exercise)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for exorcise

v.

c.1400, "to invoke spirits," from Old French exorciser (14c.), from Late Latin exorcizare, from Greek exorkizein "banish an evil spirit; bind by oath" (see exorcism).

Sense of "calling up evil spirits to drive them out" became dominant 16c. A rare case where -ise trumps -ize on both sides of the Atlantic, perhaps by influence of exercise. Related: Exorcised; exorcising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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