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

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Other Words from parochial

parochially \ pə-​ˈrō-​kē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce parochially (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
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Recent Examples on the Web That all changed one day when the Rev. Teilo Lwande, a priest at St. Andrew who also serves as a parochial vicar for the Diocese of Phoenix, casually asked Garcia about her children and their religious education. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "'We're to love like Jesus loved': Chandler Catholic church to host first sensory-friendly Mass," 1 Nov. 2019 Mr Trump’s presidency, and the impeachment inquiry, have further hardened partisan divisions and nationalised races that used to be parochial affairs. The Economist, "The Democratic victory in Louisiana is not a repudiation of Donald Trump," 21 Nov. 2019 All this explains why an industry that is global by definition is parochial and antiquated. The Economist, "Trade finance is nearing a much-needed shakeup," 24 Oct. 2019 This kind of thing was more common in Washington two decades ago, when the arts were comfortably parochial. Washington Post, "George W. Bush isn’t a bad artist. But he doesn’t deserve a show at the Kennedy Center.," 8 Oct. 2019 Parma City Schools has marketed Shadow Days to parochial, private and charter school students. John Benson, cleveland, "Parma City Schools offers Shadow Days for eighth-graders not enrolled in district schools," 31 Oct. 2019 As the city’s electorate continues to evolve, the races have become far less parochial., "Can the Boston City Council save Boston politics?," 18 Sep. 2019 DeVos has also stirred up criticism for proposing cuts to public education funding, with an aim of shifting billions of dollars to private, parochial and charter schools. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits school with anti-transgender policy," 19 Sep. 2019 The former would be in the president's parochial interests and would be over the line. CBS News, "Transcript: Senator John Kennedy on "Face the Nation," November 10, 2019," 10 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

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

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Last Updated

30 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parochial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for parochial


How to pronounce parochial (audio)

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

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