noun (used with a plural verb) Ecclesiastical.

  1. banns.

verb (used with object), banned, ban·ning.

  1. to prohibit, forbid, or bar; interdict: to ban nuclear weapons; The dictator banned all newspapers and books that criticized his regime.
  2. Archaic.
    1. to pronounce an ecclesiastical curse upon.
    2. to curse; execrate.


  1. the act of prohibiting by law; interdiction.
  2. informal denunciation or prohibition, as by public opinion: society’s ban on racial discrimination.
  3. Law.
    1. a proclamation.
    2. a public condemnation.
  4. Ecclesiastical. a formal condemnation; excommunication.
  5. a malediction; curse.

noun (used with a plural verb) Ecclesiastical.

  1. notice of an intended marriage, given three times in the parish church of each of the betrothed.
  2. any public announcement of a proposed marriage, either verbal or written and made in a church or by church officials.


  1. a public proclamation or edict.
  2. bans, Ecclesiastical. banns.
  3. (in the feudal system)
    1. the summoning of the sovereign’s vassals for military service.
    2. the body of vassals summoned.

pl n

  1. a variant spelling of banns

pl n

  1. the public declaration of an intended marriage, usually formally announced on three successive Sundays in the parish churches of both the betrothed
  2. forbid the banns to raise an objection to a marriage announced in this way

verb bans, banning or banned

  1. (tr) to prohibit, esp officially, from action, display, entrance, sale, etc; forbidto ban a book; to ban smoking
  2. (tr) (formerly in South Africa) to place (a person suspected of illegal political activity) under a government order restricting his movement and his contact with other people
  3. archaic to curse


  1. an official prohibition or interdiction
  2. law an official proclamation or public notice, esp of prohibition
  3. a public proclamation or edict, esp of outlawry
  4. archaic public censure or condemnation
  5. archaic a curse; imprecation


  1. (in feudal England) the summoning of vassals to perform their military obligations

noun plural bani (ˈbɑːnɪ)

  1. a monetary unit of Romania and Moldova worth one hundredth of a leu

Old English bannan “to summon, command, proclaim,” from Proto-Germanic *bannan “proclaim, command, forbid” (cf. Old High German bannan “to command or forbid under threat of punishment,” German bannen “banish, expel, curse”), originally “to speak publicly,” from PIE root *bha- (2) “to speak” (cf. Old Irish bann “law,” Armenian ban “word;” see fame (n.)).

Main modern sense of “to prohibit” (late 14c.) is from Old Norse cognate banna “to curse, prohibit,” and probably in part from Old French ban, which meant “outlawry, banishment,” among other things (see banal) and was a borrowing from Germanic. The sense evolution in Germanic was from “speak” to “proclaim a threat” to (in Norse, German, etc.) “curse.”

The Germanic root, borrowed in Latin and French, has been productive, e.g. banish, bandit, contraband, etc. Related: Banned; banning. Banned in Boston dates from 1920s, in allusion to the excessive zeal and power of that city’s Watch and Ward Society.


“governor of Croatia,” from Serbo-Croatian ban “lord, master, ruler,” from Persian ban “prince, lord, chief, governor,” related to Sanskrit pati “guards, protects.” Hence banat “district governed by a ban,” with Latinate suffix -atus. The Persian word got into Slavic perhaps via the Avars.


see bann.


“edict of prohibition,” c.1300, “proclamation or edict of an overlord,” from Old English (ge)bann “proclamation, summons, command” and Old French ban, both from Germanic; see ban (v.).

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