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’
    • ‘Venice eventually surrendered and Manin died in exile in Paris.’
    • ‘He had called for the unification of Italy and was consequently forced to die in exile in Chiswick.’
    • ‘Success meant the Norwegians would have a legitimate government in exile and a reason to fight on.’
    • ‘Not very confident of India accepting accession, he was reconciled to a state of permanent political exile in India.’
    • ‘Deeply attached to his native land, he died in exile in France.’
    • ‘French painter, sculptor, and printmaker; born in Paris, died in self-imposed exile in the South Seas.’
    • ‘He defected to Russia in 1951 and spent the rest of his life in exile before dying in Moscow in 1963.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is trying to beat and buy its way out of that political exile by the abuse of state power, including selective food distribution.’
    • ‘The premise here is that Napoleon didn't die in exile on the island of St. Helena.’
    • ‘Matilda and her sons disappeared, and William died in exile in France in 1211.’
    • ‘The tragedy of Amin is that he died in exile, not rotting in a jail or executed for his crimes.’
    • ‘He returned to Poland in 1988 and met friends and family, but also visited the graves of those who died during his exile.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Notions of reason and absurdity, exile and homeland have always framed South African art production.’
    • ‘But the Iraqi leader has said he would rather die than go into exile.’
    • ‘His regime collapsed immediately and he died in exile in England.’
    • ‘The stories were smuggled out and later compiled by his friend, a political prisoner living in exile.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘In October 1945 the US and Russian occupiers sponsored the return of two exiles.’
      • ‘Two million Zimbabwean exiles, refugees, and economic migrants put a strain on the South African economy.’
      • ‘Eventually some of the exiles returned to Russia to participate in events, but of them all only Trotsky won great distinction.’
      • ‘Reuters reports on the discontents of returnees to Iraq from among former exiles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shaik said many of the exiles who returned, like Zuma, were provided with financial aid by supporters of the ANC.’
      • ‘Some former exiles seem to have loved Namibia and their fellow Namibians only in their absence from the country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many struggle to cope, while the exiles - who returned with the US troops - try to establish themselves as the new rulers.’
      • ‘It is great to see exiles returned to the community from as far afield as New York.’
      • ‘By the time they finished, Catholic Mary was dead and Elizabeth was on the throne, enabling the exiles to return.’
      • ‘Most pressing of all, the UN could demand the return of Iraqi exiles.’
      • ‘It is an opportunity for exiles to return home and see for themselves what Tuber now looks like.’
      • ‘The names of the 7,785 election candidates, many of them former exiles, have not been published for fear of assassination.’
      • ‘The return of many former exiles has also boosted the economy of the region.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘About 17 years earlier, in 519 BC, the first exiles had returned from Babylon with high hopes of a new life.’
      émigré, expatriate
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  • 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’
    • ‘Theseus exiled his son because he thought his son had caused his wife to commit suicide.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They issued eulogies of his career, prematurely exiling him to history's jaundiced pages.’
    • ‘So I don't know what would be achieved by exiling him.’
    • ‘He was exiled in 1915 for political activities and ended his days as an ordained member of the Sagha.’
    • ‘Our sense of deprivation is unbearable, but we also know the Algeria we are exiled from is not the haven it was.’
    • ‘Cattle ranchers were able to work it, though, after King Kamehameha III stopped exiling criminals.’
    • ‘About AD 130 he fell into disfavour, although it is disputed whether or not he was exiled.’
    • ‘It was his rebuttal to the city dignitaries who had exiled his father.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He quickly flees the scene before he hears that the Prince has exiled him from Verona.’
    • ‘By exiling her, he opened her mind to the rest of Europe and concentrated her political focus on liberalism.’
    • ‘As well as mass genocide, Stalin tore thousands of families apart by exiling men to the icy wastes of Siberia.’
    • ‘Elected President in 1927, he at once imprisoned or exiled his political opponents.’
    • ‘We know she was exiled in Sicily, and of course you write about that episode in your novel.’
    • ‘But when she is exiled to the cabin of her prospective husband, her senses as well as her principles revolt.’
    • ‘You're the one who forced the plague out of this area; they should be cheering you, not exiling you!’
    • ‘‘I believe that Israel made a historic mistake by not exiling him two years ago,’ he said.’
    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.