pa·​ri·​ah | \ pə-ˈrī-ə How to pronounce pariah (audio) \

Definition of pariah

1 : a member of a low caste of southern India
2 : one that is despised or rejected : outcast

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Examples of pariah in a Sentence

For decades, African states longed for the day when South Africa would be liberated from its status as the apartheid pariah and become the economic engine that would pull Africa out of its mire of poverty and underdevelopment, much as Japan did for the Pacific Rim. — Allister Sparks, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2001 Once they began to migrate to the United States, especially after this country conferred citizenship on them in 1917, they discovered what it meant to be a pariah in the country that had adopted them. — John Hope Franklin, "The Land of Room Enough," 1981, in Race and History1989 Even as her star was rising in the outside world, she was becoming more and more a pariah in her own village, where her isolation and sense of rejection made her, for a time, a prisoner in her house, a victim of agoraphobia. — Judy Oppenheimer, New York Times Book Review, 3 July 1988 He's a talented player but his angry outbursts have made him a pariah in the sport of baseball. I felt like a pariah when I wore the wrong outfit to the dinner party.
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Recent Examples on the Web The sitting evolved into kneeling, which sparked controversy that turned him into a pariah in the NFL. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Colin Kaepernick is joining Medium's board to write about racism," 18 June 2020 Less than 30 years ago, South Africa was a global pariah. Debora Patta, CBS News, "What the U.S. can learn from South Africa's reckoning with racism," 8 June 2020 Official Anders Tegnell says 'herd immunity' in Sweden might be a few weeks away Tegnell's pandemic tactics made Sweden a bit of a local pariah in the Nordics and didn't spare the Swedish economy. USA TODAY, "Sweden's COVID-19 response chief admits strategy to keep country open has 'potential for improvement'," 5 June 2020 The moves recommended by Mr. Tegnell have made Sweden a bit of a local pariah and didn't spare the Swedish economy. David Keyton, The Christian Science Monitor, "Was the Swede virus approach best? Chief scientist backtracks.," 3 June 2020 The moves recommended by Tegnell have made Sweden a bit of a local pariah and didn't spare the Swedish economy. David Keyton, Anchorage Daily News, "Sweden’s top epidemiologist admits pandemic response should have gone deeper," 3 June 2020 North Korea has defied decades of being a global pariah and crippling economic punishment to pursue its nuclear program, while sanctions imposed on Vladimir Putin's Russia did not stop him from seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters have promised a 'miracle' but China's national security law seems impossible to stop," 25 May 2020 The same entry details the life of Ford, the book’s author, who wrote the novel on the basis of real-life events and people in his home town—which rendered him a pariah there. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: “The Liberation of L. B. Jones,” a 1970 Film About the Agonies of Racial Injustice," 21 May 2020 Acquitted by the Senate in his 1999 impeachment trial over perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the Monica Lewinsky affair, Bill Clinton years later has become a pariah figure in some Democratic quarters. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Following Hillary Clinton endorsement, where's Bill?," 30 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pariah.' 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 pariah

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pariah

Tamil paṟaiyan, literally, drummer

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Time Traveler for pariah

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The first known use of pariah was in 1613

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Statistics for pariah

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pariah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce pariah (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pariah

: a person who is hated and rejected by other people

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