Definition of exile in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɛksʌɪl/
Pronunciation: /ˈɛɡzʌɪl/


[mass noun]
1The state of being barred from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons: he knew now that he would die in exile
More example sentences
  • Success meant the Norwegians would have a legitimate government in exile and a reason to fight on.
  • Notions of reason and absurdity, exile and homeland have always framed South African art production.
  • Deeply attached to his native land, he died in exile in France.
banishment, expulsion, expatriation, deportation, eviction;
uprooting, separation;
historical transportation
in ancient Greece ostracism
1.1 [count noun] A person who lives away from their native country, either from choice or compulsion: the return of political exiles
More example sentences
  • The return of many former exiles has also boosted the economy of the region.
  • Two million Zimbabwean exiles, refugees, and economic migrants put a strain on the South African economy.
  • He pardoned more than 1,000 political prisoners and allowed exiles to return.
émigré, expatriate;
displaced person, refugee, asylum seeker, deportee;
outcast, pariah
informal DP, expat


[with object]
Expel and bar (someone) from their native country, typically for political or punitive reasons: a corrupt dictator who had been exiled from his country (as adjective exiled) supporters of the exiled King
More example sentences
  • Elected President in 1927, he at once imprisoned or exiled his political opponents.
  • He was exiled in 1915 for political activities and ended his days as an ordained member of the Sagha.
  • So I don't know what would be achieved by exiling him.
expel, banish, expatriate, deport, ban, bar;
drive out, throw out, cast out, eject, oust, outlaw;
uproot, separate;
Christianity  excommunicate
historical transport, displace
in ancient Greece ostracize


Middle English: the noun partly from Old French exil 'banishment' and partly from Old French exile 'banished person'; the verb from Old French exiler; all based on Latin exilium 'banishment', from exul 'banished person'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: exile

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.