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

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 The film focuses on San Francisco General Hospital’s Ward 5B, where in 1983 caregivers began treating AIDS patients and using touch at a time when those with the virus were considered pariahs. Amy Kaufman,, "AIDS doc ‘5B,’ co-directed by Paul Haggis, uses star power to raise awareness," 17 June 2019 In a fairer world, Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be a pariah. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Opinion: Sarah Sanders Will Probably Become Governor Of Arkansas," 20 June 2019 Zimbabwe, a former British colony, has been an international pariah since the early 2000s, when violent farm invasions drove out many of its white citizens, prompting financial sanctions from the U.S. and the EU. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Zimbabwe Court Confirms Mnangagwa’s Victory," 24 Aug. 2018 After spending decades as a pariah state, feared or at best ignored by even its near neighbors because of its reputation as one of the most repressive and closed nations in the world, Uzbekistan is slowly emerging from the shadows. The New York Review of Books, "The Resurgence of Central Asia, Islam or Nationalism," 27 Mar. 2017 Will someone be ticketed for parking in that spot or just considered a social pariah for not being able to afford an electric vehicle? Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "What happens if I park in a space marked for electric cars? Roadshow," 4 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.

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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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English Language Learners Definition of pariah

: a person who is hated and rejected by other people

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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