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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 01, 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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1. A female spirit derived from ancient Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death. Her Scottish counterpart is the Bean Nighe (washer-woman). It is said that when a person hears the Bansee's wail three nights in a row, a person in their family will die. When several Banshees appear, it indicates the death of someone great or holy.

2. Contemporary usage and depictions of the Banshee give her a much more evil nature, being often used as a foe in series and video games, and characterized by her powerful and strident voice.

3. An obnoxious, loud woman.
1. I heard a Banshee last night, I'm afraid this means mama will not heal.

2. "When a simple mortal hears a Banshee's cry, they die. But Banshees are former witches, and when a witch hears their cry, they turn into a Banshee!" - Charmed

3. Your mother-in-law is a banshee!
by littlecat February 26, 2007
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A mythological, female, magical creature that flies all night looking for prey. They feed on people's sadness. They kill by screaming in such a high pitch that it breaks glass and the arteries of its victem's body so that they drown in their own blood.
by Jafje May 10, 2007
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A vehical you piss people off with on Halo
What a n00b flying around in that Banshee
by Levi^^ January 20, 2009
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A female spirit in Gaelic folklore believed to presage, by wailing, a death in a family.

Irish 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).
by I have • for brains October 27, 2003
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