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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

King has become toxic and is essentially a pariah within the party., "Michigan GOP looks to nullify voter-approved anti-gerrymandering initiative: The Flyover," 23 Aug. 2019 Even as Trump’s embrace transforms Kim from global pariah into international star, the North Korean makes no commitment to dismantle his weaponry. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, "Rubin: Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un isn’t producing results," 8 July 2019 These are two men who see themselves reflected in the other—two international pariahs who, while hostile to a free press, understand the media’s love of a gripping performance. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Meaning of Trump’s Historic North Korean Jaunt, in One Image," 2 July 2019 Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft ’s Brad Smith both used the opportunity to speak out against Silicon Valley attempts to treat the U.S. military as a pariah customer. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Google Confronts Its Bolsheviks," 13 Nov. 2018 North Korea has continued to churn out fissile material and is no longer an isolated pariah on the world stage. Washington Post, "AP Analysis: Trump smiles with North Korea, threatens Iran," 2 July 2019 In the nineteen-eighties, AIDS began killing gay men and turned the living into pariahs. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Coming Out, and Rising Up, in the Fifty Years After Stonewall," 28 June 2019 For members of the Black Student Union at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio, Gish is a pariah. Armond White, National Review, "Lillian Gish’s Genius Will Outlast Ava DuVernay and the Canon Wreckers," 26 June 2019 Looking every bit a pariah, Mohammed walked away alone after the group photo was taken as other leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations mingled — while protesters outside the venue demanded his arrest. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Saudi Arabia’s MBS is center stage at G-20, only nine months after Khashoggi killing," 28 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of pariah

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pariah

Tamil paṟaiyan, literally, drummer

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pariah



English Language Learners Definition of pariah

: a person who is hated and rejected by other people

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pariah

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pariah

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pariah

Spanish Central: Translation of pariah

Nglish: Translation of pariah for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pariah for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pariah

Comments on pariah

What made you want to look up pariah? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!