See more synonyms for parish on
  1. an ecclesiastical district having its own church and member of the clergy.
  2. a local church with its field of activity.
  3. (in Louisiana) a county.
  4. the people of an ecclesiastical or civil parish.
  5. Curling. house(def 20).
  1. on the parish, British.
    1. receiving charity from local authorities.
    2. Informal.meagerly or inadequately supplied.

Origin of parish

1250–1300; Middle English, variant of parosshe < Middle French paroisse < Late Latin parochia, alteration of paroecia < Late Greek paroikía, derivative of Greek pároikos neighbor, (in Christian usage) sojourner (see paroicous); see -ia
Related formsin·ter·par·ish, adjectivetrans·par·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for parish

Contemporary Examples of parish

Historical Examples of parish

British Dictionary definitions for parish


  1. a subdivision of a diocese, having its own church and a clergymanRelated adjective: parochial
  2. the churchgoers of such a subdivision
  3. (in England and, formerly, Wales) the smallest unit of local government in rural areas
  4. (in Louisiana) a unit of local government corresponding to a county in other states of the US
  5. the people living in a parish
  6. on the parish history receiving parochial relief

Word Origin for parish

C13: from Old French paroisse, from Church Latin parochia, from Late Greek paroikia, from paroikos Christian, sojourner, from Greek: neighbour, from para- 1 (beside) + oikos house
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

Word Origin and History for parish

c.1300, "district with its own church; members of such a church," from Anglo-French paroche, parosse (late 11c.), Old French paroisse, from Late Latin parochia "a diocese," alteration of Late Greek paroikia "a diocese or parish," from paroikos "a sojourner" (in Christian writers), in classical Greek, "neighbor," from para- "near" (see para- (1)) + oikos "house" (see villa).

Sense development unclear, perhaps from "sojourner" as epithet of early Christians as spiritual sojourners in the material world. In early Church writing the word was used in a more general sense than Greek diokesis, though by 13c. they were synonymous. Replaced Old English preostscyr, literally "priest-shire."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper