Definition of banshee in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbanSHē/


(In Irish legend) a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house: the little girl dropped her ice cream and began to howl like a banshee [as modifier]: a horrible banshee wail
More example sentences
  • The good folk of Ireland quail in their beds when they hear the banshee wail of the Irish Postie.
  • Harry and Dolly have been in and out like Swiss cuckoos, demanding I open the door the instant the rain has stopped and the wind dropped, then wailing like banshees when things got bad again.
  • I croaked, woken from my recurrent dream of loading reams of information onto the computer, by a banshee wail that went on and on, somewhere in the very near vicinity.


Late 17th century: from Irish bean sídhe, from Old Irish ben síde 'woman of the fairies'.

  • A banshee in Irish legend is a female spirit who wails a warning of an imminent death in a house; the word is ultimately from Old Irish ben síde ‘woman of the fairies’.

Words that rhyme with banshee

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.