Witch vs Banshee - What's the difference?

witch | banshee |

As nouns the difference between witch and banshee

is that witch is a person who practices witchcraft; specifically: or witch can be a cone of paper which is placed in a vessel of lard or other fat and used as a taper while banshee is banshee (in irish folklore, a female spirit).

As a verb witch

is (obsolete) to practise witchcraft.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) wicche, from (etyl) .


  • A person who practices witchcraft; specifically:
  • #A woman who is learned in and actively practices witchcraft.
  • #*(rfdate) Shakespeare:
  • #*:He cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears she's a witch .
  • #(label) A Wiccan.
  • # A man who practices witchcraft.
  • #*:
  • #*:Some of the kynges had merueyl of Merlyns wordes and demed well that it shold be as he said / And som of hem lough hym to scorne / as kyng Lot / and mo other called hym a wytche / But thenne were they accorded with Merlyn that kynge Arthur shold come oute and speke with the kynges
  • #*(rfdate) Wyclif Bible (Acts viii. 9)
  • #*:There was a man in that city whose name was Simon, a witch .
  • (label) An ugly or unpleasant woman.
  • :
  • :(Shakespeare)
  • One who exercises more-than-common power of attraction; a charming or bewitching person.
  • One given to mischief, especially a woman or child.
  • (label) A certain curve of the third order, described by Maria Agnesi under the name versiera .
  • The stormy petrel.
  • Any of a number of flatfish:
  • # (Torbay sole), found in the North Atlantic.
  • # (megrim), found in the North Atlantic.
  • #, found near New Zealand.
  • Synonyms
    * (female magic user) wizardess, sorceress * (male magic user) wizard, sorcerer, warlock * (an ugly or unpleasant woman) See ,
    Derived terms
    (terms derived from witch) * bewitch * cold as a witch's tit * man-witch * nonwitch * witch ball * witchcraft * witch doctor * witches' brew * witches' knickers * witches' Sabbath * witchfinder * witch grass * witch hazel * witch-hunt * witching hour * witchy


  • (obsolete) To practise witchcraft
  • 'It approaches the witching hour'.
  • To bewitch
  • To dowse for water
  • Derived terms
    * witcher

    See also

    (other terms of interest) * athame * black magic * channelling * chiromancer * coven * crystal ball * curse * enchantment * familiar * fortuneteller * galdur * grimoire * hex * hoodoo * jinx * lamia * medium * necromancy * occultism * palmist * poppet * Sabbath * Satanism * scry * shaman * sorcery * spell * talisman * tarot * warlock * wicca * wizard

    Etymology 2

    Compare wick.


  • A cone of paper which is placed in a vessel of lard or other fat and used as a taper.
  • English terms with homophones



    (en noun)
  • In Irish folklore, a female spirit, usually taking the form of a woman whose mournful wailing warns of an impending death.
  • (derogatory) A noisy or ill-tempered woman.
  • * 1936 , , Steps Going Down , page 15:
  • Where's this old banshee that runs the place?

    Usage notes

    * 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.

    See also

    * sidhe