Definition of pariah in English:



  • 1An outcast.

    ‘they were treated as social pariahs’
    • ‘They have since been treated as the pariahs of the political establishment.’
    • ‘Racist jokes that would make one a social pariah in the United States are told boldly on television.’
    • ‘Eventually, she turned her back on society, becoming the social pariah that she is now.’
    • ‘That's a pretty large segment of the population to reduce to the status of political pariahs.’
    • ‘There's no end to the advantages of being an international pariah.’
    • ‘Australians do not, I am sure, actively desire to be international pariahs.’
    • ‘Advocates are most unlikely to tell the public who will be worse off, except when they are trying to make political pariahs of the sufferers.’
    • ‘Now, six decades later, smokers have become the social pariahs: excluded, if not frowned upon, by contemporary behavioral codes and even municipal law.’
    • ‘So everyone - or nearly everyone - makes sure to bring someone along as a security blanket, so they don't look like social pariahs.’
    • ‘In the past, smoking was fashionable and a status symbol, but today smokers are the social pariahs in many environments, particularly from increasing numbers of non-smokers.’
    • ‘So now I'm not only a big fatty, I'm also a social pariah, am I?’
    • ‘Irish smokers now have until April, it is thought, to kick the habit or be forced to become social pariahs when they want to light up.’
    • ‘A few dozen of these political pariahs found employment, mostly in second-rate TV offerings where they were less likely to be spotted either by appearance or writing style.’
    • ‘Such extreme views, however, have not made him a social pariah.’
    • ‘The regime should be treated as a pariah, not just as a hostile but recognizable political competitor.’
    • ‘He was a pariah in the international community.’
    • ‘Spring allergies will be mistaken for deathly disease and your runny nose will make you a social pariah.’
    • ‘Traveling alone (especially for women) is seen as sad and desperate, a cardinal sin, reserved for those social pariahs who talk to their cats.’
    • ‘By today's standards, the Roman Empire would be an international pariah.’
    • ‘Billboards are also telling people to give up now before they become social pariahs on March 29, the day the prohibition comes into effect.’
    outcast, persona non grata, leper, reject, untouchable, undesirable
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  • 2historical A member of an indigenous people of southern India originally functioning as ceremonial drummers but later having a low caste.


Early 17th century: from Tamil paṛaiyar, plural of paṛaiyan ‘(hereditary) drummer’, from paṛai ‘a drum’.