Pet"al*ism (?), n. [Gr. , fr. a leaf: cf. F. p'etalisme.] Gr. Antiq.
A form of sentence among the ancient Syracusans by which they banished for five years a citizen suspected of having dangerous influence or ambition. It was similar to the ostracism in Athens; but olive leaves were used instead of shells for ballots.
© Webster 1913.