or ex·or·cize

[ ek-sawr-sahyz, -ser- ]
/ ˈɛk sɔrˌsaɪz, -sər- /

verb (used with object), ex·or·cised, ex·or·cis·ing.

to seek to expel (an evil spirit) by adjuration or religious or solemn ceremonies: to exorcise a demon.
to free (a person, place, etc.) of evil spirits or malignant influences.

Nearby words

  1. exopterygote,
  2. exor.,
  3. exorable,
  4. exorbitance,
  5. exorbitant,
  6. exorcism,
  7. exorcist,
  8. exorcize,
  9. exordium,
  10. exoserosis

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for exorcize

  • Only then can the right potion be discovered to exorcize the ghost of Romney for good.

  • A fear was upon Setne because of Se-Osiris, who answered not, and then he pronounced words that exorcize the ghosts of the dead.

  • This is the fifth time to-day that the procession goes its round, that the reliquary is borne on high, to exorcize the calamity.

    Majesty|Louis Couperus
  • "You may exorcize the devils first," the Colonel grimly remarked to the priest, wiping the blood off his sleeves.

    Werwolves|Elliott O'Donnell

British Dictionary definitions for exorcize



/ (ˈɛksɔːˌsaɪz) /


(tr) to expel or attempt to expel (one or more evil spirits) from (a person or place believed to be possessed or haunted), by prayers, adjurations, and religious rites
Derived Formsexorcizer or exorciser, nounexorcism, nounexorcist, noun

Word Origin for exorcize

C15: from Late Latin exorcizāre, from Greek exorkizein, from ex- 1 + horkizein to adjure

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 exorcize



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