Definition of exorcise in English:


(also exorcize)


[with object]
  • 1Drive out or attempt to drive out (a supposed evil spirit) from a person or place.

    ‘an attempt to exorcise an unquiet spirit’
    • ‘The ‘devil dancing’ of the southern coastal lowlands developed from folk ceremonies to exorcise demons.’
    • ‘As the eldest and smartest student, she bravely stayed in the haunted room in the dormitory and successfully exorcised the evil spirit.’
    • ‘Luckily there were plenty of other sideshows around the convention halls to cheer spirits and exorcise such defeatist sentiments.’
    • ‘Then he exorcises the evil spirit haunting them and becomes chief.’
    • ‘And they are having trouble and have had trouble for years, decades, trying to exorcise him from their lives.’
    • ‘He should repent and exorcise the institutional bias of his department.’
    • ‘As we have just noted, others, including the disciples of Jesus, shared his ability to exorcize evil spirits.’
    • ‘Now Rosa has written an autobiographical novel in an attempt to exorcise her trauma.’
    • ‘Attempts are made in vain to exorcise his spirit, but when the robe of a saint is placed on his shoulders, he achieves spiritual release.’
    • ‘The sound generated by the bamboo could both arouse gods to be appeased or exorcise evil spirits.’
    • ‘His troubled spirit was said to have haunted a certain home, and the bottle apparently was an attempt by a priest to exorcise the spirit.’
    • ‘Some scholars believe that the Chinese Lunar New Year originated from a ritual ceremony originally intended to exorcize the evil spirits.’
    • ‘Residents would even pray to some of the edifices to exorcise evil spirits and bring good weather for crops.’
    • ‘The tone veers from serious to comic horror at this point and encompasses several botched (and occasionally very funny) attempts to exorcise the ghost.’
    • ‘Shamans or Buddhist monks can be called on to exorcise such ill-intentioned spirits.’
    • ‘This distinction should not simply be pushed aside without an attempt to diagnose and exorcize some of the lingering cultural stereotypes within it.’
    • ‘One should recall that Marx's writings are contemporaneous with the rise of spiritualism and that they can be viewed as historical materialist attempts to exorcise this craze.’
    • ‘Ivan then began performing miracles - he exorcised evil spirits, and healed illnesses and infirmities, at least according to historical sources left from that time.’
    • ‘Steinbeck's appreciation of him is partly an obituary, partly an attempt to exorcise his ghost.’
    • ‘I eventually gave up and called a priest to come over and exorcise the demonic spirits.’
    1. 1.1 Rid (a person or place) of a supposed evil spirit.
      ‘infants were exorcised prior to baptism’
      • ‘If you do she'll exorcize you herself from within.’
      • ‘An attempt to exorcise the house by a Catholic priest ended with him fleeing in fear and prompted the strange occurrences to intensify.’
      • ‘Instead of letting us exorcise him, she makes him help out with the housework.’
      • ‘They use certain Quranic verses to exorcize someone.’
      • ‘But there's a major difference between believing in demonic possession and using torture and beatings to exorcize children.’
      • ‘When the pope turned his attention to the young woman, he prayed over her, exorcised her, and stayed with her for half an hour.’
      • ‘Now the feng shui doctor has been called in to exorcise the room.’
      • ‘Then, the priest exorcises the child by breathing on the child's forehead, mouth, and breast.’
      • ‘If somebody was brought to me who needed to be exorcised, provided that the person was willing, I would do all I could to help.’
      • ‘In a traumatic ritual, she was exorcised in a local church at the age of 17.’
      • ‘As we join them, they're marking another German village as they construct an elaborate show to convince the locals they've exorcised a witch that didn't exist in the first place.’
      • ‘In particular, says the Report, it was thought necessary in the Early Church to exorcise the sites of churches to be consecrated or reconsecrated.’
      • ‘The other religious people heard of the demon in the church and warned him to exorcize me from the place.’
      • ‘Nobody tried to exorcise me when I was at that church.’
      • ‘The newspapers have run stories about a girl who was almost trampled to death under the feet of a church congregation as they tried to exorcise her.’
      • ‘Or, if I was very unlucky and lived in a remote Scottish hamlet, a lay preacher would have been brought around to my house to exorcise me.’
      • ‘The monk and nuns accused of killing her said they had been exorcising her of evil spirits.’
      • ‘It probably means half the pubs in Glasgow won't allow me to drink in them anymore, but it was worth it to say I was exorcised in the Vatican.’
      • ‘It is not people or places which are exorcised, but rather the demonic forces of evil in those persons or places.’
      • ‘Please don't let Chris try to exorcise me again.’
      drive out, cast out, expel
      rid, deliver, free, purify, cleanse, purge
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Completely remove (something unpleasant) from one's mind or memory.
      ‘she wanted to exorcise some of the pain’
      • ‘Wilson provides vignettes of almost 40 skeptics or atheists, most of whom were unable to exorcise religion completely from their minds and psyches.’
      • ‘This afternoon, in an altogether less meaningful league fixture between the sides, Lennon returns to the Gorgie ground determined to exorcise the memory of that demoralising day.’
      • ‘Among other things, this will help all parties concerned to exorcise any remaining bad memories of religious conflict, and get on with their lives.’
      • ‘It cannot exorcise their horrific memories, but at least they can again view the place as a venue where Azzurri football can be celebrated, instead of regarding it only as their graveyard.’
      • ‘Even before he had buried her, he had begun to try to exorcise the memory of her final bewildered, agonized week.’
      • ‘His main concern, and that of his players, is that they have the opportunity to exorcise the memory of a bad experience in the Connacht semi-final against Roscommon.’
      • ‘It was the only time that he had been stopped in his professional career and he is determined to exorcise the memories of that defeat.’
      • ‘Only four of those who perished on the claustrophobic clifftop almost exactly a year ago were granted the opportunity to exorcise those memories on the wide open spaces of Mount Florida.’
      • ‘The narratives also perform the therapeutic exercise of exorcising the past, of integrating it in memory, thus forming a bridge between past and present.’
      • ‘They will insure that no matter what the magnitude of his achievement, the memory of it will be downplayed, marginalized and exorcised - just like before.’
      • ‘His win in California this year exorcised the memory of a famous flop in the same event two years ago.’
      • ‘That doesn't particularly inspire confidence as the ladies bid to exorcise the painful memories of last year's defeat.’
      • ‘There is also a good deal of confusion as to whether it is better to exorcise or exercise one's memories.’
      • ‘We might argue that she needed to ‘expose’ her mother, warts and all, in order to exorcise her memories of their relationship.’
      • ‘This was not merely a matter of Kerry exorcising the bad memories of the past three seasons, but a landmark victory in its own right.’
      • ‘Our country's military, and much of our populace, has been possessed by the memory of that defeat and will do almost anything to exorcize it.’
      • ‘It took Indian fans and cricketers several years and a few important victories to exorcise this ghost from our minds.’
      • ‘The post isn't actually about the TV show, but the analogy sprung to mind and I haven't been able to fully exorcise it.’
      • ‘No matter what she claims she has not managed to exorcise his memory.’
      • ‘Some warmth was gleaned from a midweek cup win over Kaiserslautern on penalties, but that alone will not exorcise the memory of last weekend's 5-1 cuffing by Schalke.’


Late Middle English: from French exorciser or ecclesiastical Latin exorcizare, from Greek exorkizein, from ex- ‘out’ + horkos ‘oath’. The word originally meant ‘conjure up an evil spirit’; the current sense dates from the mid 16th century.