See more synonyms for ban on
verb (used with object), banned, ban·ning.
  1. to prohibit, forbid, or bar; interdict: to ban nuclear weapons; The dictator banned all newspapers and books that criticized his regime.
  2. Archaic.
    1. to pronounce an ecclesiastical curse upon.
    2. to curse; execrate.
  1. the act of prohibiting by law; interdiction.
  2. informal denunciation or prohibition, as by public opinion: society's ban on racial discrimination.
  3. Law.
    1. a proclamation.
    2. a public condemnation.
  4. Ecclesiastical. a formal condemnation; excommunication.
  5. a malediction; curse.

Origin of ban

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 formsban·na·ble, adjectiveun·banned, adjective
Can be confusedband bannedbanns bans

Synonyms for ban

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for ban

1. allow. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for banned

illegal, taboo, tabu

Examples from the Web for banned

Contemporary Examples of banned

Historical Examples of banned

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

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • An offence against table-manners is banned like an attack on the Church.

    The New Society

    Walther Rathenau

  • It was all banned about fifty years ago, on account of the congestion.

    Starman's Quest

    Robert Silverberg

  • He banned the obtruding priest by name and all his accomplices.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

    Charles L. Marson

  • Premacy; as, to gain divorce, The foreign Pope is banned perforce.

British Dictionary definitions for banned


verb bans, banning or banned
  1. (tr) to prohibit, esp officially, from action, display, entrance, sale, etc; forbidto ban a book; to ban smoking
  2. (tr) (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
  3. archaic to curse
  1. an official prohibition or interdiction
  2. law an official proclamation or public notice, esp of prohibition
  3. a public proclamation or edict, esp of outlawry
  4. archaic public censure or condemnation
  5. archaic a curse; imprecation

Word Origin for ban

Old English bannan to proclaim; compare Old Norse banna to forbid, Old High German bannan to command


  1. (in feudal England) the summoning of vassals to perform their military obligations

Word Origin for ban

C13: from Old French ban, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German ban command, Old Norse bann ban 1


noun plural bani (ˈbɑːnɪ)
  1. a monetary unit of Romania and Moldova worth one hundredth of a leu

Word Origin for ban

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

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.



"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.



"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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper