Definition of exorcise in English:


(also exorcize)


  • 1 Drive out or attempt to drive out (an evil spirit) from a person or place.

    ‘an attempt to exorcise an unquiet spirit’
    figurative ‘inflation has been exorcised’
    • ‘Ivan then began performing miracles - he exorcised evil spirits, and healed illnesses and infirmities, at least according to historical sources left from that time.’
    • ‘As we have just noted, others, including the disciples of Jesus, shared his ability to exorcize evil spirits.’
    • ‘The ‘devil dancing’ of the southern coastal lowlands developed from folk ceremonies to exorcise demons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This distinction should not simply be pushed aside without an attempt to diagnose and exorcize some of the lingering cultural stereotypes within it.’
    • ‘The sound generated by the bamboo could both arouse gods to be appeased or exorcise evil spirits.’
    • ‘Some scholars believe that the Chinese Lunar New Year originated from a ritual ceremony originally intended to exorcize the 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.’
    • ‘Then he exorcises the evil spirit haunting them and becomes chief.’
    • ‘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 tone veers from serious to comic horror at this point and encompasses several botched (and occasionally very funny) attempts to exorcise the ghost.’
    • ‘I eventually gave up and called a priest to come over and exorcise the demonic spirits.’
    • ‘Luckily there were plenty of other sideshows around the convention halls to cheer spirits and exorcise such defeatist sentiments.’
    • ‘And they are having trouble and have had trouble for years, decades, trying to exorcise him from their lives.’
    • ‘Shamans or Buddhist monks can be called on to exorcise such ill-intentioned spirits.’
    • ‘He should repent and exorcise the institutional bias of his department.’
    • ‘Residents would even pray to some of the edifices to exorcise evil spirits and bring good weather for crops.’
    • ‘Now Rosa has written an autobiographical novel in an attempt to exorcise her trauma.’
    • ‘Steinbeck's appreciation of him is partly an obituary, partly an attempt to exorcise his ghost.’
    • ‘As the eldest and smartest student, she bravely stayed in the haunted room in the dormitory and successfully exorcised the evil spirit.’
    1. 1.1Rid (a person or place) of an evil spirit.
      ‘infants were exorcised prior to baptism’
      • ‘In particular, says the Report, it was thought necessary in the Early Church to exorcise the sites of churches to be consecrated or reconsecrated.’
      • ‘Now the feng shui doctor has been called in to exorcise the room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They use certain Quranic verses to exorcize someone.’
      • ‘When the pope turned his attention to the young woman, he prayed over her, exorcised her, and stayed with her for half an hour.’
      • ‘If you do she'll exorcize you herself from within.’
      • ‘Instead of letting us exorcise him, she makes him help out with the housework.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The other religious people heard of the demon in the church and warned him to exorcize me from the place.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 a traumatic ritual, she was exorcised in a local church at the age of 17.’
      • ‘But there's a major difference between believing in demonic possession and using torture and beatings to exorcize children.’
      • ‘Please don't let Chris try to exorcise me again.’
      • ‘Then, the priest exorcises the child by breathing on the child's forehead, mouth, and breast.’
      • ‘It is not people or places which are exorcised, but rather the demonic forces of evil in those persons or places.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nobody tried to exorcise me when I was at that church.’
      • ‘An attempt to exorcise the house by a Catholic priest ended with him fleeing in fear and prompted the strange occurrences to intensify.’
      drive out, cast out, expel
      rid, deliver, free, purify, cleanse, purge
      View synonyms


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