banshee

[ban-shee, ban-shee]
noun
(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:
1765–75; < Irish bean sīdhe woman of a fairy mound; see sídh

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World English Dictionary
banshee (ˈbænʃiː, bænˈʃiː)
 
n
(in Irish folklore) a female spirit whose wailing warns of impending death
 
[C18: from Irish Gaelic bean sídhe, literally: woman of the fairy mound]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

banshee
1771, from phonetic spelling of Ir. bean sidhe "female of the Elves," from bean "woman" (from PIE span class="foreign">*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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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