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or exorcize

[ek-sawr-sahyz, -ser-] /ˈɛk sɔrˌsaɪz, -sər-/
verb (used with object), exorcised, exorcising.
to seek to expel (an evil spirit) by adjuration or religious or solemn ceremonies:
to exorcise a demon.
to free (a person, place, etc.) of evil spirits or malignant influences.
Origin of exorcise
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin exorcizāre < Greek exorkízein, equivalent to ex- ex-3 + (h)orkízein to cause (someone) to swear an oath
Related forms
exorcisement, noun
exorciser, noun
unexorcised, adjective
Can be confused
exercise, exorcise (see synonym study at exercise) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for exorcise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is all very well to exorcise a ghost by sheer strength of will, but one has also to eliminate the idea that gave it existence.

    The Masquerader Katherine Cecil Thurston
  • The demon replied, "It is not customary to exorcise in that tongue."

    The Phantom World Augustin Calmet
  • He passed a hand over his shiny bald head as if to stimulate thought and exorcise bewilderment.

  • A man riding on the mare entered the Church with a friend, to exorcise the Spirit.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • Also I think you came out to exorcise the same by name, for I heard it in the Latin.

    A Thane of Wessex Charles W. Whistler
  • As drivers will, she tried to exorcise the creeping fear by singing.

    Free Air Sinclair Lewis
  • He went to see her, taking with him a priest, who began to exorcise her, bidding her avaunt if she were of the Evil One.

Word Origin and History for exorcise

c.1400, "to invoke spirits," from Old French exorciser (14c.), from Late Latin exorcizare, from Greek exorkizein "banish an evil spirit; bind by oath" (see exorcism).

Sense of "calling up evil spirits to drive them out" became dominant 16c. A rare case where -ise trumps -ize on both sides of the Atlantic, perhaps by influence of exercise. Related: Exorcised; exorcising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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