Definition of Parsee in English:


Pronunciation /pɑːˈsiː//ˈpɑːsiː/


  • An adherent of Zoroastrianism, especially a descendant of those Zoroastrians who fled to India from Muslim persecution in Persia during the 7th–8th centuries.

    • ‘He was a Parsee, a member of a small cultural group that had fled from Persia centuries earlier to escape Muslim persecution.’
    • ‘The Parsees, who lived for centuries on the Gujarat coast before wending their way to Bombay in the 17th Century, are the focus of two exhibitions.’
    • ‘The Parsees curse him for destroying their holy books.’
    • ‘Surely the Parsees of Western India, with a love of games inherited from their Persian ancestors, were the pioneers.’
    • ‘It is the cause of hundreds of millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Budhists, Parsees, agnostics and atheists as well.’
    • ‘Now empty, they were once used for leaving the bodies of deceased Parsee for the vultures - for the Parsees believed that burying a body polluted the earth.’
    • ‘In course of time all inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent who were not Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs or Parsees, came to be known as Hindus.’
    • ‘More than half the population is vegetarian, the Parsees are influenced by the Persians, the southern Muslims by the Malaysians; some southern Christians by Irish missionaries; and the Jains don't eat anything that grows underground.’
    • ‘In Western India, Parsees such as the Tatas created a new cotton textile industry.’
    • ‘The Parsees came to India as refugees from Arab-invaded Persia in the ninth and tenth centuries.’
    • ‘Moreover, it has been noted for tolerance: not only Muslims, but of Parsees (a minority community from Persia who practice Zorastrianism).’
    • ‘The Parsees were given full freedom to follow their own Zoroastrian faith and build their Fire Temples and follow their own customs of death, birth, and marriage.’
    • ‘If they asked me what I was, I would say I was a Parsee.’
    • ‘Melville's epithet for Fedallah is ‘the Parsee,’ meaning Persian, but with a distinct Zoroastrian, i.e., fire-worshipping, emphasis.’
    • ‘He had never been baptised: his Gandhi was a Hindu and a Muslim and a Christian and a Sikh and a Parsee and a Jew.’
    • ‘Zoroastrians or Parsees trace their roots to ninth-century Persia, and form a minuscule religious minority in both India and Pakistan.’
    • ‘Being neither Hindu nor Muslim, the Parsees were able to keep out of the sectarian divide and stayed on the sidelines; they were not targeted by the mobs nor forced leave.’
    • ‘I remember repeating, ‘In the camp was a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour’, without the faintest idea that it was a description.’
    • ‘In fact, Jews arrived shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, Christians appeared at least as early as the 4th century, and Parsees started arriving by the 8th.’
    • ‘While the Parsees, as these Iranians who settled in India came to be known, were free to follow their own religion, they were to speak the local language, wear the local dress and respect the local customs and sentiments.’


From Persian pārsī ‘Persian’, from pārs ‘Persia’.