- 1: expulsion from one's native land by authoritative decree.
- 2: the fact or state of such expulsion: "to live in exile".
- 3: person banished from his or her native land.
- 4: prolonged separation from one's country or home, as by force of circumstances: wartime exile.
- 5: anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances.
- 6: the Exile, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, 597–538 b.c.
- 7: to expel or banish (a person) from his or her country; expatriate.
- 8: to separate from country, home, etc.: Disagreements exiled him from his family.
Exile means to be away from one's home (i.e. city, state or country), while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return. It can be a form of punishment and solitude.
It is common to distinguish between internal exile, i.e., forced resettlement within the country of residence, and external exile, deportation outside the country of residence. Although most commonly used to describe an individual situation, the term is also used for groups (especially ethnic or national groups), or for an entire government. Terms such as diaspora and refugee describe group exile, both voluntary and forced, and government in exile describes a government of a country that has been forced to relocate and argue its legitimacy from outside that country.
Exile can also be a self-imposed departure from one's homeland. Self-exile is often depicted as a form of protest by the person that claims it, to avoid persecution or legal matters (such as tax or criminal allegations), an act of shame or repentance, or isolating oneself to be able to devote time to a particular thing.
The average men of these times could not grasp, nor were they much interested in, the Greek philosophy of self-realization and an abstract Deity; they rather craved promises of salvation, coupled with a personal God who could hear their prayers. They exiled the philosophers, persecuted the remnants of the Salem cult, both doctrines having become much blended, and made ready for that terrible orgiastic plunge into the follies of the mystery cults which were then overspreading the Mediterranean lands. (98:2.10)