The image of a banshee.
- The definition of banshee means a mythological female spirit who cries to warn of an upcoming death.
An example of a banshee is a ghost who enters a house wailing as a warning.
Origin of bansheeIrish bean sidhe ; from bean, woman (see gyno-) + sith, fairy
Origin of bansheeIrish Gaelic bean sídhe, woman of the fairies, banshee : bean, woman (from Old Irish ben; see gwen- in Indo-European roots) + sídhe, fairy (from Old Irish síde, genitive of síd, fairy mound; see sed- in Indo-European roots).
A banshee was originally merely a fairy woman who sang a caoineadh (lament) for recently-deceased members of certain families. Translations of Irish works into English made a distinction between the banshee and other fairy folk that the original language and original stories do not seem to have, but from whence sprung the current image of the banshee.