Student Dictionary

One entry found for ostracize.
Main Entry: os·tra·cize
Pronunciation: primarystressäs-trschwa-secondarystresssimacrz
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -cized; -ciz·ing
Etymology: from Greek ostrakizein "to banish by voting with pottery fragments," from ostrakon "shell, pottery fragment"
: to force to leave or refuse to include by ostracism
Word History The ancient Greek word ostrakon had several meanings, including "a shell" and "a fragment of pottery." Such pottery fragments were used in ancient Athens as ballots in a particular kind of popular vote. Once a year the citizens would gather in the marketplace to decide who, if anyone, should be forced to go away temporarily for the good of the city. Each voter wrote a name on an ostrakon. If enough votes were cast against one person, then that person was sent away from the city, or ostracized.

Pronunciation Symbols