[ pahr-suh n ]
/ ˈpɑr sən /


a member of the clergy, especially a Protestant minister; pastor; rector.
the holder or incumbent of a parochial benefice, especially an Anglican.

Nearby words

  1. parsley,
  2. parsley family,
  3. parsley fern,
  4. parsley piert,
  5. parsnip,
  6. parson bird,
  7. parson's nose,
  8. parsonage,
  9. parsonic,
  10. parsons

Origin of parson

1200–50; Middle English persone < Medieval Latin persōna parish priest, Latin: personage. See person

Related formspar·son·ic [pahr-son-ik] /pɑrˈsɒn ɪk/, par·son·i·cal, adjectivepar·son·i·cal·ly, adverbpar·son·ish, par·son·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for parson

British Dictionary definitions for parson


/ (ˈpɑːsən) /


a parish priest in the Church of England, formerly applied only to those who held ecclesiastical benefices
any clergyman
NZ a nonconformist minister
Derived Formsparsonic (pɑːˈsɒnɪk) or parsonical, adjective

Word Origin for parson

C13: from Medieval Latin persōna parish priest, representative of the parish, from Latin: personage; see person

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 parson



late 12c., from Anglo-French and Old French persone "curate, parson, holder of Church office" (12c.), from Medieval Latin persona "parson" (see person). Ecclesiastical use is obscure; it might refer to the "person" legally holding church property, or it may be an abbreviation of persona ecclesiae "person of the church."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper