Definition of pariah in English:



  • 1An outcast.

    ‘they were treated as social pariahs’
    • ‘Billboards are also telling people to give up now before they become social pariahs on March 29, the day the prohibition comes into effect.’
    • ‘That's a pretty large segment of the population to reduce to the status of political pariahs.’
    • ‘Eventually, she turned her back on society, becoming the social pariah that she is now.’
    • ‘They have since been treated as the pariahs of the political establishment.’
    • ‘There's no end to the advantages of being an international 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.’
    • ‘Such extreme views, however, have not made him a social pariah.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So now I'm not only a big fatty, I'm also a social pariah, am I?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Racist jokes that would make one a social pariah in the United States are told boldly on television.’
    • ‘Australians do not, I am sure, actively desire to be international pariahs.’
    • ‘Spring allergies will be mistaken for deathly disease and your runny nose will make you a social pariah.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By today's standards, the Roman Empire would be an international 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    outcast, persona non grata, leper, reject, untouchable, undesirable
    View synonyms
  • 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’.