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or banshie

[ban-shee, ban-shee] /ˈbæn ʃi, bænˈʃi/
(in Irish folklore) a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.
Origin of banshee
1765-75; < Irish bean sīdhe woman of a fairy mound; see sídh Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for banshee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When you're going right it sounds a pass between a peanut roaster and a banshee with bronchitis.

    Half Portions Edna Ferber
  • He marched his men up, with the thin wailing of a banshee in his ears.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • She dug her little heel into the ground to show how she would crush the banshee.

  • But that was the last act of destruction that the banshee was destined to accomplish.

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • The figure waved her arms towards the house, and my mother heard the bitter wailing of the banshee.

  • The banshee corked the bottle and held it up proudly to the light.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • Presently he heard the long-drawn, quavering, banshee wail of a locomotive.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • I thought it might be a banshee, if thair is that crayther in this counthry.

    The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for banshee


/ˈbænʃiː; bænˈʃiː/
(in Irish folklore) a female spirit whose wailing warns of impending death
Word Origin
C18: from Irish Gaelic bean sídhe, literally: woman of the fairy mound
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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Word Origin and History for banshee

1771, from phonetic spelling of Irish bean sidhe "female of the Elves," from bean "woman" (from PIE *gwen-; see queen) + sidhe, from sith "fairy" or sid "fairy mound." Specifically, one who calls to the spirits of the dead.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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