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Word of the Day
Saturday, October 09, 1999

Definitions for ostracize

  1. To banish or expel from a community or group; to cast out from social, political, or private favor.
  2. [Greek Antiquity] To exile by ostracism; to banish by a popular vote, as at Athens.

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Citations for ostracize
As for scientists who might be tempted to pursue the theory, he says, they worry that their colleagues might ostracize them for stepping out of line and that their funding could suffer. Jon Cohen, The Atlantic
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called Monday on the members of the United Nations to unite in a global effort to eradicate terrorism and to ostracize countries that refuse to join. Stevenson Swanson, Chicago Tribune
Origin of ostracize
Ostracize is from Greek ostrakizein, "to banish by voting with potsherds," from ostrakon, "a piece of earthenware, a potsherd." Ostracism was practiced at Athens to get rid of a citizen whose power was considered too great for the liberty of the state. Each voter wrote on a potsherd the name of a person he wished banished. The man named on the most ostraka was exiled, normally for a period of ten years.