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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 ostracize
Historical Examples
  • Will you then ostracize the South and compel the abolition of slavery?

    Slavery Ordained of God Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.
  • The defeat was staved off "ostrich" and "ostracize" on to some one else.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley
  • And just for that they chose to turn the cold shoulder on her,—to ostracize her practically.

    The Lamp in the Desert

    Ethel M. Dell
  • It will never trouble itself to inquire minutely into the truth, but will pronounce its hasty judgment, and then ostracize.

    We Two Edna Lyall
  • No, let us everywhere put down treason and ostracize traitors.

  • They are uncompromising in such matters and ostracize any one of their members who marries an outsider.

    A Stake in the Land Peter Alexander Speek
  • Legally your actions cannot be assailed, but morally they should ostracize you from decent society.

  • This set with Berenice as instigator, took it upon themselves to ostracize Hester.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • To hinder the unfolding truth, to ostracize whatever uplifts mankind, is of course out of the question.

    No and Yes

    Mary Baker Eddy
  • They ostracize Aristides, simply because they are "tired of hearing him always called the Just."

British Dictionary definitions for ostracize


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 ostracize

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 ostracize

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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