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pariah

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
Man's fear of ideas is probably the greatest dike holding back human knowledge and happiness.
Morris L. Ernst
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English

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Etymology

From Tamil paraiyar. Parai refers in Tamil to a type of large drum designed to announce 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 lower strata, hence the derisive paraiah and pariah. Now, the term is used to describe an outcast in English.

n. [Tamil. paraiyan, drummer, from parai, drum: a pariah was a hereditary drumbeater.]

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
pariah

Plural
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pariah ({{{1}}})
  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.

Quotations

  • 1842 -- William 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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