parochial

adjective

pa·​ro·​chi·​al pə-ˈrō-kē-əl How to pronounce parochial (audio)
1
: of or relating to a church parish
our pastor and other parochial leaders
2
: of or relating to a parish as a unit of local government
parochial authorities serve the inhabitants of Louisiana's parishes
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
parochially adverb

Did you know?

In the Greek of the New Testament, the word paroikia means "temporary residence in a foreign land" and comes 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 Anglo-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.

Examples of parochial in a Sentence

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
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
… 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
our pastor and other parochial leaders voters worried about their own parochial concerns
Recent Examples on the Web Public school advocates quickly filed a petition to raise the question of using state money for private or parochial K-12 schools − invoking the separation of church and state. USA TODAY, 12 Feb. 2024 Several million children had left public schools for private and parochial ones or for homeschooling; several hundred thousand were simply unaccounted for. Alec MacGillis, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 For roughly a century, the importance or influence of New England teams was largely parochial. Bill Pennington, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2024 Yet the prospect of merging our courses excited me for a kind of parochial reason, as well—the converse of the reason for my past queasiness. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 2 Feb. 2024 There seemed something damningly Irish about them, which is to say parochial and unsophisticated. Megan Nolan, Vogue, 31 Jan. 2024 Typically, those queries are about some unresolved parochial issue that the president then promises to address. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2023 Yet those parochial squabbles have global resonance. Curbed, 29 Nov. 2023 Can Washington’s factions rise above their parochial interests and compromise to help two U.S. friends fighting for their national survival? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parochial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of parochial was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near parochial

Cite this Entry

“Parochial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parochial. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

parochial

adjective
pa·​ro·​chi·​al pə-ˈrō-kē-əl How to pronounce parochial (audio)
1
: of or relating to a parish
2
: restricted or limited in range or scope : narrow, provincial
a parochial point of view
parochialism
-kē-ə-ˌliz-əm
noun
parochially adverb

Legal Definition

parochial

adjective
pa·​ro·​chi·​al pə-ˈrō-kē-əl How to pronounce parochial (audio)
: of or relating to a parish

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