Definition of exorcism in US English:



  • The expulsion or attempted expulsion of an evil spirit from a person or place.

    • ‘The first section, dealing with Mesopotamian magic, stresses the similarities to modern European rituals of healing and exorcism.’
    • ‘It has been a kind of exorcism, and in telling the most personal story you hope to reach people.’
    • ‘Thereafter, formal rituals of exorcism were adopted by the Church throughout the medieval centuries.’
    • ‘Once he regains his senses somewhat he goes ‘through all the exorcisms against evil spirits’ and descends back to earth.’
    • ‘The Salpuri dance, which is the last ritual process in the Korean shamanist exorcism known as Kut, will also be performed on the occasion.’
    • ‘One was an attempt at exorcism, the other a rather more practical if overly melodramatic way of making the pain go away.’
    • ‘This conveys power to practise the gifts of the Spirit: speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, exorcism.’
    • ‘He will insist otherwise, but today is an opportunity for exorcism.’
    • ‘She read a ceremony of exorcism over the ten-year-old boy, and she and Brando prayed.’
    • ‘Attempts at exorcism have been both incredibly painful and unsuccessful.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some viewers and critics wanted exorcism and purification through some sort of commentary or strictly objective stance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Through this divinely-sponsored exorcism, the infant survives to lead the family out of darkness into the light.’
    • ‘Solemn exorcism is an extremely unusual step to take and can only be done after every other possibility, including mental illness, has been discounted.’
    • ‘Similarly, there are other rituals outside their sphere of activity, such as the propitiation or exorcism of dangerous spirits.’
    • ‘Two things are worth noting, apart from the obvious one that this man believes without any irony that the cure for unbelief is 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
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Late Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek exorkismos, from exorkizein ‘exorcize’.