pariah

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Tamil பறையர் (paṟaiyar),from பறையன் (paṟaiyaṉ, drummer), from பறை (paṟai, drum) or from Malayalam പറയർ (paṟayar), from പറയൻ (paṟayan, drummer), from പറ (paṟa, drum). Parai in Tamil or Para in Malayalam refers to a type of large drum designed to announce the king’s notices to the public. The people who made a living using the parai were called paraiyar; in the caste-ridden society they were in the lower strata, hence the derisive paraiah and pariah. Now the term is used to describe an outcast in English.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

pariah (plural pariahs)

  1. An outcast.
  2. A demographic group, species, or community that is generally despised.
  3. Someone in exile.
  4. A member of one of the oppressed social castes in India.
  5. A person who is rejected (from society or home).

Quotations[edit]

  • 2014: Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Executive Presence, Prologue
    I didn’t even need to finish the article to understand the damage it would do—which was swift and devastating. In a matter of weeks, Creating a Life was DOA—and, figuratively speaking, so was I. I went from being a much-feted author to a pariah, since one of the many problems of being trashed on the front page of the New York Times is that everyone is in the know.
  • 1985Robert Holmes, The Two Doctors, p 14
    ‘I’m a pariah, outlawed from Time Lord society.’
  • 1842William Makepeace Thackeray, The Fitz-Boodle Papers (Fitz-Boodle's Confessions, preface [1])
    What is this smoking that it should be considered a crime? I believe in my heart that women are jealous of it, as of a rival. They speak of it as of some secret, awful vice that seizes upon a man, and makes him a pariah from genteel society.

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