[eg-zahyl, ek-sahyl]
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  1. expulsion from one's native land by authoritative decree.
  2. the fact or state of such expulsion: to live in exile.
  3. a person banished from his or her native land.
  4. prolonged separation from one's country or home, as by force of circumstances: wartime exile.
  5. anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances.
  6. the Exile, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, 597–538 b.c.
verb (used with object), ex·iled, ex·il·ing.
  1. to expel or banish (a person) from his or her country; expatriate.
  2. to separate from country, home, etc.: Disagreements exiled him from his family.

Origin of exile

1250–1300; Middle English exil banishment < Latin ex(s)ilium, equivalent to exsul banished person + -ium -ium
Related formsex·il·a·ble, adjectiveex·il·er, nounqua·si-ex·iled, adjectiveun·ex·iled, adjective

Synonyms for exile

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7, 8. evict, drive out, cast out, eject, deport.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for exile

Contemporary Examples of exile

Historical Examples of exile

  • The best of his works is the Olympian Zeus, made at Elis after his exile.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • A vote was taken on the question of exile, and the black pebbles predominated.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • For each of the fallen wishes to feel that his exile is self-terminable.

  • She remembered the bitterness of her month's exile, and its probable cause.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Miss Baker talked persistently about Bermuda; as if my exile had ever been a possibility!

British Dictionary definitions for exile


  1. a prolonged, usually enforced absence from one's home or country; banishment
  2. the expulsion of a person from his native land by official decree
  3. a person banished or living away from his home or country; expatriate
  1. to expel from home or country, esp by official decree as a punishment; banish
Derived Formsexilic (ɛɡˈzɪlɪk, ɛkˈsɪlɪk) or exilian, adjective

Word Origin for exile

C13: from Latin exsilium banishment, from exsul banished person; perhaps related to Greek alasthai to wander


  1. the Exile another name for Babylonian captivity
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 exile

c.1300, from Old French essillier "exile, banish, expel, drive off," from Late Latin exilare/exsilare, from Latin exilium/exsilium "banishment, exile," from exul "banished person," from ex- "away" (see ex-) + PIE root *al- "to wander" (cf. Greek alaomai "to wander, stray, or roam about"). Second element derived in ancient times by folk etymology from Latin solum "soil." Related: Exiled; exiling.


c.1300, "forced removal from one's country;" early 14c. as "a banished person;" from Old French exil, essil (12c.), from Latin exilium (see exile (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper