Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To expel (an evil spirit) by or as if by incantation, command, or prayer.
  • transitive v. To free from evil spirits or malign influences.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To drive out an evil spirit from a person, place or thing, especially by an incantation or prayer
  • v. To rid a person, place or thing of an evil spirit

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To cast out, as a devil, evil spirits, etc., by conjuration or summoning by a holy name, or by certain ceremonies; to expel (a demon) or to conjure (a demon) to depart out of a person possessed by one.
  • transitive v. To deliver or purify from the influence of an evil spirit or demon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To expel by conjurations and religious or magical ceremonies; drive out by religious or magical agencies: as, to exorcise evil spirits.
  • To purify from unclean spirits by adjurations and religious or magical ceremonies; deliver from the influence of malignant spirits or demons: as, to exorcise a house.
  • To call up or forth, as a spirit; conjure up.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. expel through adjuration or prayers

Etymologies

Middle English exorcisen, from Late Latin exorcizāre, from Greek exorkizein : ex-, out of; see exo- + horkizein, to make one swear (from horkos, oath).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French exorciser, from Late Latin exorcizare, from Ancient Greek ἐξορκίζειν (exorkizein, "banish an evil spirit; bind by oath"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I couldn't shake it off and I ended up wearing a shirt with their name on it to kind of exorcise the ghost, and I guess I did it by writing this song about it.

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  • The reverend's tactics may be unusual — he's been known to leap on shop counters in order to "exorcise" cash registers — but his message of modest spending is increasingly mainstream.

    Is The Mall Dead?

  • Up to 15,000 children in Nigeria's Akwa Ibom and Cross River states alone have been branded witches by rogue pastors, who charge large sums to "exorcise" them....

    Witch Children On The Steets

  • Thus he managed to cancel — I should probably say "exorcise" — his adolescent humiliation in that city, and some of the disappointments of his maturity as well.

    The Immortal

  • Finally, about Humanism, I would have thought that my use of the word "exorcise" suggested that Rabelais was indeed strongly attracted, and that the only way he could free himself from its trammels was by writing as he did.

    The Rabelais Story

  • The film will feature interviews with preachers from the churches that brand children witches or wizards and charge their parents to "exorcise" the spirits.

    WN.com - Business News

  • Before doing that, I had to reflect for a year, went through a few rites and that includes denouncing my previous belief (a rojak of Buddhism with Taoism with kepercayaan karut), proclaim I will follow Christ and all His teachings, get myself 'exorcise' off the human needs like money and power and being accepted into the Catholic church.

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  • Greaves says he wrote the book to "exorcise" his childhood

    CNN.com

  • NEW: Greaves says he wrote the book to "exorcise" his childhood

    CNN.com

  • Pastor Berthony Paul, Pastor Joel Jeune, and preacher Gregory Joseph, a former police attache, have threatened to lead their congregations, which they call Haiti Protestant Vision, to Bois Caiman to hold a Protestant service to "exorcise" the spirit of Boukman.

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