lep·​er | \ ˈle-pər How to pronounce leper (audio) \

Definition of leper

1 : a person affected with leprosy
2 : a person shunned for moral or social reasons

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Examples of leper in a Sentence

a convicted child molester who is treated as a leper wherever he goes
Recent Examples on the Web Weissmann should be obliged to go about wearing bells like a medieval leper to warn the unsuspecting of his approach. Conrad Black, National Review, "Inside the Mueller Farce," 29 Sep. 2020 Set flamboyantly in the Holy Land, a miracle worker has arrived — just as one who, centuries before, healed a desperate leper who came before him after delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Napoleon has it all over Trump when it comes to spinning plague propaganda," 23 Apr. 2020 For centuries, leper colonies and lazarettos had sequestered bodies and cargos suspected of carrying disease. Timothy Kent Holliday, Smithsonian Magazine, "What an 1836 Typhus Outbreak Taught the Medical World About Epidemics," 21 Apr. 2020 In the most extreme case, tiny Kalawao County, Hawaii, a former leper colony that is only accessible by air, sea or mule, had so much randomness added that its population jumped from 90 to 716. Nicholas N. Nagle, The Conversation, "Census 2020 will protect your privacy more than ever – but at the price of accuracy," 6 Apr. 2020 In Connecticut, state officials are re-opening previously closed facilities to create separate nursing homes only for residents who are positive for COVID-19 — like modern-day leper colonies. Los Angeles Times, "As coronavirus tears through nursing homes, families face an impossible choice," 1 Apr. 2020 The obviously sick become like lepers, mortal threats, criminals in a way, because they have been struck with the curse the rest of us dread. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 Think of the shaming and shunning of lepers, of the homophobic hatred that was given full voice—and even imagined moral license—during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "The Moral Dilemma of Coronavirus Quarantines," 13 Mar. 2020 This led to the idea of leper colonies; as late as the 1960s, a peninsula on the Hawaiian island of Molokai still housed one such colony. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, "‘Unclean! Unclean!’: The Questionable History of Quarantines," 6 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of leper

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for leper

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from lepre leprosy, from Late Latin lepra, from Greek, from lepein to peel; perhaps akin to Lithuanian lopas piece, scrap

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Time Traveler for leper

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The first known use of leper was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Leper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leper. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce leper (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of leper

: a person who has leprosy
: someone who is disliked and avoided by other people


lep·​er | \ ˈlep-ər How to pronounce leper (audio) \

Medical Definition of leper

: an individual affected with leprosy

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