Definition of exile in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.

    ‘he knew now that he would die in exile’
    • ‘Success meant the Norwegians would have a legitimate government in exile and a reason to fight on.’
    • ‘He returned to Poland in 1988 and met friends and family, but also visited the graves of those who died during his exile.’
    • ‘It is trying to beat and buy its way out of that political exile by the abuse of state power, including selective food distribution.’
    • ‘Matilda and her sons disappeared, and William died in exile in France in 1211.’
    • ‘Not very confident of India accepting accession, he was reconciled to a state of permanent political exile in India.’
    • ‘The stories were smuggled out and later compiled by his friend, a political prisoner living in exile.’
    • ‘He had called for the unification of Italy and was consequently forced to die in exile in Chiswick.’
    • ‘Deeply attached to his native land, he died in exile in France.’
    • ‘I'm waiting to see what happens before contemplating cultural and political exile.’
    • ‘He was a very successful and wealthy man, but he was also an ill man and he died in exile from Germany when I was five years old.’
    • ‘Venice eventually surrendered and Manin died in exile in Paris.’
    • ‘Yes, the reader learns much about recent upheavals in Iranian life, but there is more here than the sad but familiar story of political exile.’
    • ‘But the Iraqi leader has said he would rather die than go into exile.’
    • ‘The tragedy of Amin is that he died in exile, not rotting in a jail or executed for his crimes.’
    • ‘Notions of reason and absurdity, exile and homeland have always framed South African art production.’
    • ‘He fled the civil war there with his family in 1988 and after six years in exile in Egypt they were granted political asylum in the UK.’
    • ‘His regime collapsed immediately and he died in exile in England.’
    • ‘He defected to Russia in 1951 and spent the rest of his life in exile before dying in Moscow in 1963.’
    • ‘The premise here is that Napoleon didn't die in exile on the island of St. Helena.’
    • ‘French painter, sculptor, and printmaker; born in Paris, died in self-imposed exile in the South Seas.’
    banishment, expulsion, expatriation, deportation, eviction
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A person who lives away from their native country, either from choice or compulsion.
      ‘the return of political exiles’
      • ‘Many struggle to cope, while the exiles - who returned with the US troops - try to establish themselves as the new rulers.’
      • ‘Eventually some of the exiles returned to Russia to participate in events, but of them all only Trotsky won great distinction.’
      • ‘In October 1945 the US and Russian occupiers sponsored the return of two exiles.’
      • ‘We find reference to dreams in the stories of exiles who have returned home after a long sojourn in some far off land.’
      • ‘The prophecy pictures the return of the exiles from Babylon as being like the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.’
      • ‘By the time they finished, Catholic Mary was dead and Elizabeth was on the throne, enabling the exiles to return.’
      • ‘Two million Zimbabwean exiles, refugees, and economic migrants put a strain on the South African economy.’
      • ‘Reuters reports on the discontents of returnees to Iraq from among former exiles.’
      • ‘Some former exiles seem to have loved Namibia and their fellow Namibians only in their absence from the country.’
      • ‘So will the millions of exiles now planning to return home.’
      • ‘Pain and bloodshed flowed in its wake as the exiles returned to their homeworld.’
      • ‘It is great to see exiles returned to the community from as far afield as New York.’
      • ‘About 17 years earlier, in 519 BC, the first exiles had returned from Babylon with high hopes of a new life.’
      • ‘The names of the 7,785 election candidates, many of them former exiles, have not been published for fear of assassination.’
      • ‘But I do know that many exiles and refugees have already fought and suffered.’
      • ‘He pardoned more than 1,000 political prisoners and allowed exiles to return.’
      • ‘The return of many former exiles has also boosted the economy of the region.’
      • ‘Shaik said many of the exiles who returned, like Zuma, were provided with financial aid by supporters of the ANC.’
      • ‘It is an opportunity for exiles to return home and see for themselves what Tuber now looks like.’
      • ‘Most pressing of all, the UN could demand the return of Iraqi exiles.’


  • Expel and bar (someone) from their native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.

    ‘a corrupt dictator who had been exiled from his country’
    ‘supporters of the exiled King’
    • ‘It was his rebuttal to the city dignitaries who had exiled his father.’
    • ‘However, after exiling his enemies, and befriending the others, there will be no need for him as a leader, and therefore he will keep starting new wars so that the people keep thinking that they need him.’
    • ‘As well as mass genocide, Stalin tore thousands of families apart by exiling men to the icy wastes of Siberia.’
    • ‘‘I believe that Israel made a historic mistake by not exiling him two years ago,’ he said.’
    • ‘So I don't know what would be achieved by exiling him.’
    • ‘Albert's powers now include proposing legislation, exiling anyone he chooses, rewriting the constitution, and having control over every one of his citizen's lives.’
    • ‘Our sense of deprivation is unbearable, but we also know the Algeria we are exiled from is not the haven it was.’
    • ‘Napoleon's spell was broken, and he was again exiled, this time to St Helena.’
    • ‘Early in his reign the king was exiled and forced to eke out an existence wandering the land.’
    • ‘By exiling her, he opened her mind to the rest of Europe and concentrated her political focus on liberalism.’
    • ‘They issued eulogies of his career, prematurely exiling him to history's jaundiced pages.’
    • ‘But when she is exiled to the cabin of her prospective husband, her senses as well as her principles revolt.’
    • ‘Theseus exiled his son because he thought his son had caused his wife to commit suicide.’
    • ‘He quickly flees the scene before he hears that the Prince has exiled him from Verona.’
    • ‘Cattle ranchers were able to work it, though, after King Kamehameha III stopped exiling criminals.’
    • ‘Elected President in 1927, he at once imprisoned or exiled his political opponents.’
    • ‘About AD 130 he fell into disfavour, although it is disputed whether or not he was exiled.’
    • ‘You're the one who forced the plague out of this area; they should be cheering you, not exiling you!’
    • ‘He was exiled in 1915 for political activities and ended his days as an ordained member of the Sagha.’
    • ‘We know she was exiled in Sicily, and of course you write about that episode in your novel.’
    expel, banish, expatriate, deport, ban, bar
    drive out, throw out, cast out, eject, oust, outlaw
    uproot, separate
    transport, displace
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Middle English: the noun partly from Old French exil banishment and partly from Old French exile banished person; the verb from Old French exiler; all based on Latin exilium banishment, from exul banished person.