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banshee

[ban-shee, ban-shee] /ˈbæn ʃi, bænˈʃi/
noun
1.
(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.
Also, banshie.
Origin
1765-1775
1765-75; < Irish bean sīdhe woman of a fairy mound; see sídh
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for banshee
  • We learn to recognize the bark of the toucan, the distant roar of a howler monkey, and the banshee cry of a hoatzin.
British Dictionary definitions for banshee

banshee

/ˈbænʃiː; bænˈʃiː/
noun
1.
(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
n.

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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Encyclopedia Article for banshee

(("woman of the fairies") supernatural being in Irish and other Celtic folklore whose mournful "keening," or wailing screaming or lamentation, at night was believed to foretell the death of a member of the family of the person who heard the spirit. In Ireland banshees were believed to warn only families of pure Irish descent. The Welsh counterpart, the gwrach y Rhibyn ("witch of Rhibyn"), visited only families of old Welsh stock

Learn more about banshee with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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12
13
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