Definition of exorcism in English:



mass noun
  • The expulsion or attempted expulsion of a supposed evil spirit from a person or place.

    ‘the rite of exorcism’
    count noun figurative ‘an exorcism of the authoritarian past’
    • ‘She read a ceremony of exorcism over the ten-year-old boy, and she and Brando prayed.’
    • ‘The Salpuri dance, which is the last ritual process in the Korean shamanist exorcism known as Kut, will also be performed on the occasion.’
    • ‘Some viewers and critics wanted exorcism and purification through some sort of commentary or strictly objective stance.’
    • ‘This conveys power to practise the gifts of the Spirit: speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, exorcism.’
    • ‘She did suffer a lot of physical and emotional pain, but putting it on canvas was a form of exorcism, and she did it with a dark sense of humour.’
    • ‘Solemn exorcism is an extremely unusual step to take and can only be done after every other possibility, including mental illness, has been discounted.’
    • ‘Once he regains his senses somewhat he goes ‘through all the exorcisms against evil spirits’ and descends back to earth.’
    • ‘Two things are worth noting, apart from the obvious one that this man believes without any irony that the cure for unbelief is exorcism.’
    • ‘He will insist otherwise, but today is an opportunity for exorcism.’
    • ‘Amazingly no one was killed, and the parish priest then led the children and adults of the village in a kind of exorcism, imitating the noises of the helicopters.’
    • ‘One was an attempt at exorcism, the other a rather more practical if overly melodramatic way of making the pain go away.’
    • ‘Thereafter, formal rituals of exorcism were adopted by the Church throughout the medieval centuries.’
    • ‘It has been a kind of exorcism, and in telling the most personal story you hope to reach people.’
    • ‘Attempts at exorcism have been both incredibly painful and unsuccessful.’
    • ‘Through this divinely-sponsored exorcism, the infant survives to lead the family out of darkness into the light.’
    • ‘In actual fact, I think it was more an attempt at personal exorcism.’
    • ‘Rituals like this of purification and exorcism are a traditional feature of Shinto.’
    • ‘Similarly, there are other rituals outside their sphere of activity, such as the propitiation or exorcism of dangerous spirits.’
    • ‘The first section, dealing with Mesopotamian magic, stresses the similarities to modern European rituals of healing and exorcism.’
    • ‘The renovation, so long resisted by mother, was meant to be an act of vengeance, assertion and exorcism, but it only seems to stir up memories.’
    driving out, casting out, expulsion
    catharsis, cleansing, purification, purgation, release, deliverance
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek exorkismos, from exorkizein ‘exorcize’.