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(in Irish folklore) a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.
Contemporary Examples

When the sheriff-to-be is killed, the man assumes his identity, Lucas Hood, and becomes the new Sheriff of banshee.
‘Banshee,’ Cinemax’s Deliciously Over-the-Top Carnival of Sex and Violence, Is Must-See TV Marlow Stern January 9, 2014

The first season of banshee, meanwhile, was completely outrageous (in a good way).
‘Banshee,’ Cinemax’s Deliciously Over-the-Top Carnival of Sex and Violence, Is Must-See TV Marlow Stern January 9, 2014

Historical Examples

When you’re going right it sounds a pass between a peanut roaster and a banshee with bronchitis.
Half Portions Edna Ferber

He marched his men up, with the thin wailing of a banshee in his ears.
Police Your Planet Lester del Rey

She dug her little heel into the ground to show how she would crush the banshee.
The Meadow-Brook Girls Under Canvas Janet Aldridge

But that was the last act of destruction that the banshee was destined to accomplish.
The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith

The figure waved her arms towards the house, and my mother heard the bitter wailing of the banshee.
The Best Ghost Stories Various

The banshee corked the bottle and held it up proudly to the light.
David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd

Presently he heard the long-drawn, quavering, banshee wail of a locomotive.
The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb

I thought it might be a banshee, if thair is that crayther in this counthry.
The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid

(in Irish folklore) a female spirit whose wailing warns of impending death

1771, from phonetic spelling of Irish bean sidhe “female of the Elves,” from bean “woman” (from PIE *gwen-; see queen) + sidhe, from sith “fairy” or sid “fairy mound.” Specifically, one who calls to the spirits of the dead.


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