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[os-truh-sahyz] /ˈɒs trəˌsaɪz/
verb (used with object), ostracized, ostracizing.
to exclude, by general consent, from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc.:
His friends ostracized him after his father's arrest.
to banish (a person) from his or her native country; expatriate.
(in ancient Greece) to banish (a citizen) temporarily by popular vote.
Also, especially British, ostracise.
Origin of ostracize
1640-50; < Greek ostrakízein, equivalent to óstrak(on) potsherd, tile, ballot (akin to óstreion oyster, shell) + -izein -ize
Related forms
ostracizable, adjective
ostracization, noun
ostracizer, noun
1. shun, snub, blacklist.
1. accept. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ostracise
Historical Examples
  • (following him slightly C.) Why yield to her when we might ostracise her?

    Niobe, All Smiles

    Harry Paulton and Edward A. (Edward Antonio) Paulton
  • It was manifestly the intention of her family to ostracise her altogether.

    The Way We Live Now

    Anthony Trollope
  • Hence he did not ostracise me; but smiling, said, "Train very late to-day, sir."

  • In their turn they ostracise him after their fashion; so he becomes a silent, solitary youth, self-reliant, and old for his years.

    The Gamekeeper at Home Richard Jefferies
  • She knew that the world could not afford to ostracise the men,—though happily it might condemn the women.

    An Eye for an Eye

    Anthony Trollope
  • He handled his political opposers with great severity which accounts for the mighty effort made to ostracise him from the Bench.

British Dictionary definitions for ostracise


verb (transitive)
to exclude or banish (a person) from a particular group, society, etc
(in ancient Greece) to punish by temporary exile
Derived Forms
ostracism, noun
ostracizable, ostracisable, adjective
ostracizer, ostraciser, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Greek ostrakizein to select someone for banishment by voting on potsherds; see ostracon
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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Contemporary definitions for ostracise

to banish or expel; abolish

Word Origin

Greek ostrakizein 'to banish by voting with potsherds''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for ostracise

chiefly British English spelling of ostracize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Ostracised.



1640s, from Greek ostrakizein "to banish," literally "to banish by voting with potshards" (see ostracism). Figurative sense of "to exclude from society" is attested from 1640s. Related: Ostracization; ostracized; ostracizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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