[pahr-suh nz]
  1. Tal·cott [tawl-kot, tal-] /ˈtɔl kɒt, ˈtæl-/, 1902–79, U.S. sociologist and author.
  2. Theophilus,1750–1813, U.S. jurist.
  3. William, Third Earl of Rosse,1800–67, Irish astronomer.
  4. a town in SE Kansas.


[pahr-suh n]
  1. a member of the clergy, especially a Protestant minister; pastor; rector.
  2. the holder or incumbent of a parochial benefice, especially an Anglican.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for parsons

Contemporary Examples of parsons

Historical Examples of parsons

British Dictionary definitions for parsons


  1. Sir Charles Algernon . 1854–1931, English engineer, who developed the steam turbine
  2. Gram, real name Cecil Connor. 1946–73 US country-rock singer and songwriter; founder of the Flying Burrito Brothers (1968–70), he later released the solo albums G.P. (1973) and Grievous Angel (1974)
  3. Talcott. 1902–79, US sociologist, author of The Structure of Social Action (1937) and The Social System (1951)


  1. a parish priest in the Church of England, formerly applied only to those who held ecclesiastical benefices
  2. any clergyman
  3. 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 parsons



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