A spirit from ancient Irish/Scottish Celtic mythology.

From Old Irish "ben síde" and modern Irish "bean sídhe"/"bean sí", the word roughly means "woman of the fairies" ("bean": "woman"; "sídhe": "fairy mound"). When a citizen of a village dies, a woman (sometimes known as keener (taken from the Irish Gaelic word "caoin" ("to weep/cry")) would sing a caoineadh (lament); legend has it that, for five great Gaelic families: the O'Gradys, the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, and the Kavanaghs, the lament would be sung by a particular fairy woman.

When the stories were translated into English, a distinction between the "banshee" and the other fairy folk was introduced which does not seem to exist in the original stories in their original language, and the funeral lament became a wail that heralded a death. Hearing the cry of the banshee came to forewarn a death in the family and seeing the banshee would signify one's own death.

Most often, the banshee appears a maiden in white, combing their cascading fair hair with a silver comb (which is likely confused with local mermaid myths), while they are also shown in black or green and wearing a grey cloak.

She may also appear (near a body of water) as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood-stained clothes of the ones who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman).
The haunting sound of a woman sobbing echoed faintly, but clearly, through the night... the cry of the banshee!
by Lorelili September 1, 2006
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people are actually getting the definition of a banshee very wrong. let me quote from john allan's "mysteries".

"banshees are really guardian spirits rather than harbingers of doom, but their cry always spell disaster."

so a banshee, or a bansidhe is not the cause of death of someone, but a warning cry, if you will.
my nan used to say i'm as loud as a banshee :/
by angrytoast March 23, 2009
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A beautiful girl who routinely is too hard on her appearance, not realizing she's always the most gorgeous girl in the room. She uses banshee in a negative sense, unaware of its completely meaning.
Guy: "Hi. I love the way your hair looks!"
Girl: "Really? This mess? Oh, my gosh, I look like a banshee."
Guy: "I'm not sure that means what you think it means. Banshee is good!"
by beautifulsg July 12, 2010
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A creature that hangs around toilet bowls and smells like burnt cheese wiz.
I saw the hooded banshee and he flung a booger at me to protect his cheese wiz.
by The banshee master January 30, 2004
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a kickass sacramento band....better be listening for them their gonna make it...
songs...one cool sober guy, outta hand,about to say....i love u guys!
by Mandy January 28, 2004
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(Alkaloid slang) A hinque and/or attractive person of the female persuasion. See also witchy.
Scout, that banshee you're happenin' with is the tontay!
by Brock Guilfoyle January 4, 2006
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