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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ostracized
  • Maybe they were ostracized at an early age for being smart instead of sporty.
  • The wives then get ostracized from the community once they become ill.
  • Many of us who grew up his contemporaries never felt otherwise and were ostracized for it.
  • Since then, both have been ostracized from the mainstream scientific community.
  • The other firemen walked out in initial protest, then ostracized him.
  • They received three years in prison and were ostracized for years.
  • Most of the smart ones seem to have been ostracized.
  • ostracized at school, he gets the last laugh by bleeding us all dry.
  • He is ostracized by intellectuals and hailed by the leadership.
  • In the latter, you're branded a heretic and ostracized for attempting to change the core beliefs of the faith.
British Dictionary definitions for ostracized


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 ostracized

to banish or expel; abolish

Word Origin

Greek ostrakizein 'to banish by voting with potsherds''s 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for ostracized



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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