adjective pa·ro·chi·al \pə-ˈrō-kē-əl\

Definition of parochial

  1. 1 :  of or relating to a church parish our pastor and other parochial leaders

  2. 2 :  of or relating to a parish as a unit of local government parochial authorities serve the inhabitants of Louisiana's parishes

  3. 3 :  confined or restricted as if within the borders of a parish :  limited in range or scope (as to a narrow area or region) :  provincial, narrow


play \pə-ˈrō-kē-ə-lē\ adverb

parochial was our Word of the Day on 01/03/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of parochial in a sentence

  1. It has never been clearer that the country's best self is a global inheritance, its worst a parochial self-certainty. —Jedediah Purdy, New York Times Book Review, 22 Feb. 2009

  2. There is no patience for the parochial, the small-time, the stay-in-place, not in Los Angeles. —Richard Hoffer, Sports Illustrated, 8 Sept. 2008

  3. … during the mid-1780s, Madison had two great goals. The first was to inculcate an enlightened sense of national interest in legislators whose political instincts were innately parochial. —Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings … , 1996

  4. our pastor and other parochial leaders

  5. voters worried about their own parochial concerns

Did You Know?

In the Greek New Testament, the word paroikia means "temporary residence." (It's from the Greek word for "stranger" - paroikos.) Early Christians used this designation for their colonies because they considered heaven their real home. But temporary or not, these Christian colonies became more organized as time went on. Thus, in Late Latin, parochia became the designation for a group of Christians in a given area under the leadership of one pastor - what we came to call a parish in the 14th century. Both parish and its related adjective parochial were borrowed at that time directly from Middle French terms that had been derived from the Late Latin. We didn't begin to use parochial in its "narrow" sense until the mid-19th century.

Origin and Etymology of parochial

Middle English parochiall, from Anglo-French parochial, from Late Latin parochialis, from parochia parish — more at parish

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

PAROCHIAL Defined for English Language Learners


adjective pa·ro·chi·al \pə-ˈrō-kē-əl\

Definition of parochial for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to a church parish and the area around it

  • : limited to only the things that affect your local area

Law Dictionary


adjective pa·ro·chi·al \pə-ˈrō-kē-əl\

Legal Definition of parochial

  1. :  of or relating to a parish

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