pa·​ro·​chi·​al | \ pə-ˈrō-kē-əl How to pronounce parochial (audio) \

Definition of parochial

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from parochial

parochially \ pə-​ˈrō-​kē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce parochial (audio) \ adverb

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.

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web His Irish-Italian family raised him as a strict Catholic in parochial schools. Washington Post, "G. Gordon Liddy, undercover operative convicted in Watergate scandal, dies at 90," 30 Mar. 2021 In Northern California, many parochial schools run by area dioceses or individual religious orders have been back on campus for months, with few hit by quarantines or outbreaks. Los Angeles Times, "This high school reopened two months ago, with no COVID-19 outbreaks. Here’s how," 8 Mar. 2021 Cooper pinpoints parochial schools as reopening while still serving a socioeconomically diverse student body. Rahul Rao, Popular Science, "Masks, well-ventilated classrooms, and other precautions are key to reopening schools," 4 Mar. 2021 All of which is part of today’s hearing in the House on D.C. statehood, which has grown from parochial local interest into a national priority for Democrats. Philip Elliott, Time, "Sorry. D.C. Statehood Isn’t Likely," 22 Mar. 2021 Others said the joke was nativist and parochial, and played into the idea that Boston is only welcoming to white people who were born and raised in the city., "Backlash after Nick Collins’ St. Patrick’s Day breakfast joke about Michelle Wu," 20 Mar. 2021 That’s a long time in a position of power to satisfy the parochial priorities and grant favors for individual Democrats. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "'Of course, I’m worried about it': Gavin Newsom shifts to campaign mode as California recall gets real," 16 Mar. 2021 The reason is that the F.S.M. was a parochial affair. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "The Making of the New Left," 15 Mar. 2021 In San Francisco, 114 private, charter and parochial schools were open for some degree of in-person instruction as of Tuesday. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, "New maps showing which California school districts are open reflect big divides," 16 Feb. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for parochial

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about parochial

Time Traveler for parochial

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about parochial

Statistics for parochial

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Parochial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for parochial



English Language Learners Definition of parochial

: of or relating to a church parish and the area around it
formal + usually disapproving : limited to only the things that affect your local area


pa·​ro·​chi·​al | \ pə-ˈrō-kē-əl How to pronounce parochial (audio) \

Legal Definition of parochial

: of or relating to a parish

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on parochial

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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