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pariah

pariah


pa·ri·ah  (p-r)
n.
1. A social outcast: Shortly Tom came upon the juvenile pariah of the village, Huckleberry Finn, son of the town drunkard (Mark Twain).
2. An Untouchable.

[Tamil paaiyar, pl. of paaiyan, pariah caste, from paai, festival drum.]
Word History: The word pariah, which can be used for anyone who is a social outcast, independent of social position, recalls a much more rigid social system, which made only certain people pariahs. The caste system of India placed pariahs, also known as Untouchables, very low in society. The word pariah, which we have extended in meaning, came into English from Tamil paaiyar, the plural of paaiyan, the caste name, which literally means (hereditary) drummer and comes from the word paai, the name of a drum used at certain festivals. The word is first recorded in English in 1613. Its use in English and its extension in meaning probably owe much to the long period of British rule in India.


pariah  /pra/  n. a person who is not welcome in society: His unpopular ideas make him a pariah in his town. pariah

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