The name "Ostracize" comes from the Ostrakon, literally a broken piece of pottery, which each voter had, and upon which he1 would write the name of the person he wished to banish. The person whose name appeared on the most Ostrakonoi would be banished for a year.

1Only free males were allowed to participate in Athenian "Democracy".

Os"tra*cize (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ostracized (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Ostracizing (?).] [Gr. , fr. a tile, a tablet used in voting, a shell; cf. oyster, bone. Cf. Osseous, Oyster.]

1. Gr. Antiq.

To exile by ostracism; to banish by a popular vote, as at Athens.



To banish from society; to put under the ban; to cast out from social, political, or private favor; as, he was ostracized by his former friends.



© Webster 1913.

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