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.
pariah (plural pariahs)
- An outcast.
- A demographic group, species, or community that is generally despised.
- Someone in exile.
- A member of one of the oppressed social castes in India.
- A person who is rejected (from society or home).
- 1842 — William Makepeace Thackeray, The Fitz-Boodle Papers (Fitz-Boodle's Confessions, preface )
- 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.
- 1985 — Robert Holmes, The Two Doctors, p 14
- ‘I’m a pariah, outlawed from Time Lord society.’
- See also Wikisaurus:outcast