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). Parai refers in Tamil 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]

  • 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.
  • 1985Robert Holmes, The Two Doctors, p 14
    ‘I’m a pariah, outlawed from Time Lord society.’

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