pariah

[ puh-rahy-uh ]
/ pəˈraɪ ə /

noun

an outcast.
any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided.
(initial capital letter) a member of a low caste in southern India and Burma.

Origin of pariah

1605–15; < Tamil paṟaiyar, plural of paṟaiyan literally, drummer (from a hereditary duty of the caste), derivative of paṟai a festival drum
Related formspa·ri·ah·dom, nounpa·ri·ah·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pariah

British Dictionary definitions for pariah

pariah

/ (pəˈraɪə, ˈpærɪə) /

noun

a social outcast
(formerly) a member of a low caste in South India

Word Origin for pariah

C17: from Tamil paraiyan drummer, from parai drum; so called because members of the caste were the drummers at festivals
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for pariah

pariah

[ (puh-reye-uh) ]

An outcast; a member of a low caste or class.


Note

The word originally stems from the caste system of India, which put pariahs in a very low place in society. In the United States, it refers to those of low social class or social status.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.