Definition of Persian in English:

Persian

noun

  • 1A native or inhabitant of ancient or modern Persia (or Iran), or a person of Persian descent.

    • ‘The Saluki and the horse are prized possessions of the Arabs and the Persians.’
    • ‘The Greeks seem to have been fascinated by the splendid costumes of the Persians and the bodies they concealed.’
    • ‘More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians used mastiffs wearing spiked collars to attack their enemies.’
    • ‘There are also smaller groups of Ukrainians, Turks, Persians, and Jews.’
    • ‘Arabs, Syrians, Persians and other Orientals exhibited great interest in this subject even before this period in history.’
    • ‘Seventy years later, when the Babylonians fell to the Persians and the Jews were permitted to return, only a small number did.’
    • ‘Misfortune and politics place them between the Arabs, Turks and Persians.’
    • ‘After all, the laws of the Medes and Persians never changed at all.’
    • ‘At different times it has been occupied by Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Russians.’
    • ‘Muslim Arabs and Persians established trading routes in the area between the 7th and 10th centuries AD.’
    • ‘The encounter with Persians and Arabs infused a new vitality into Indian music, resulting in the sublime form of khayal.’
    • ‘The Egyptians embalmed bodies; the ancient Babylonians and Persians stuck them into jars of honey and wax.’
    • ‘For instance, it is not known exactly how the Norooz festival was viewed in terms of religious beliefs by ancient Persians.’
    • ‘Ancient Persians believed that pomegranate seeds made their warriors invincible.’
    • ‘The Medes and the Persians were subsequently united by marriage connections.’
    • ‘Between the 4th and 19th centuries, Armenia was conquered and ruled by, among others, Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks.’
    • ‘The Aryans were supposedly the ancestors of the Greeks, Persians, Indians, Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons & Germans.’
    • ‘To the Persians and Arabs the word Hindu covered both the lands watered by the Sindhu and the people living there and beyond.’
    • ‘They also used lead-based powder to whiten their complexions as the ancient Persians did.’
    • ‘The ancient Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and East Indians used it to treat certain illnesses.’
    1. 1.1 A long-haired domestic cat of a breed originating in Persia, having a broad round head, stocky body, and short thick legs.
      • ‘The shortest distance to that goal lies in breeding Himalayans to Persians, so beginning in 1960 the Persian gradually became a sanctioned Himalayan outcross in cat associations.’
      • ‘‘His coat is naturally beautiful and he doesn't really need a trim,’ said Diane, who also owns five Persian cats.’
      • ‘For 14 years, I shared my home with two cats, one of them a jet-black Persian.’
      • ‘She owns two Persian cats and is anxious that any cat hairs are regularly cleaned up to prevent her 18-month-old son Daniel suffering an allergy attack.’
      • ‘The outlet is not restricted to canine alone and one can find some lovely Persian cats, cute little guinea pigs and chirpy exotic birds.’
      • ‘He doesn't place his Siamese kitten along with the Persians, apparently for fear of cross-breeding.’
      • ‘By that time Persians and other longhair cats - namely the Angora and the Russian - outnumbered shorthairs four-to-one at shows.’
      • ‘A Persian cat is the same as an Angora cat, which is sometimes called an Angola cat.’
      • ‘To be fair, actually, that credit should go to the American shorthair fanciers who bred some of their cats to Persians.’
      • ‘Others include the Siamese, the Rex, the Main Coon, the Ragdoll and the Persian.’
      • ‘A Persian cat was shot in the tail and had to have an operation.’
      • ‘Choose a grown up cat from a pet sanctuary, and preferably not a Persian cat which needs plenty of attention to its fur.’
      • ‘In 1903 Frances Simpson, an English cat breeder and judge, declared there should be two separate breeds of Persian - the longhair and shorthair.’
      • ‘She holds court from her bed like a spoiled Persian cat, a disagreeable chocolate substituting for a furball.’
      • ‘Never place short-nosed animals such as Boston Terriers or Pekingese or Persian cats in the cargo area.’
      • ‘The prominent use of Persians in exotic shorthair breeding programs ensures the continued creation of exotics that carry a recessive gene for long hair.’
      • ‘I've also had an expert opinion on my cat from a leading authority on Persians, who was posing as an odd-job man at my parents' house at the time.’
    2. 1.2 A sheep of a breed common in South Africa.
  • 2mass noun The modern Persian language, a member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family written in Arabic script.

    Also called Farsi
    • ‘Modern Kurdish names are mostly Arabic or Persian.’
    • ‘There were particularly large gains for online services in English, Arabic, Spanish and Persian.’
    • ‘He saw old manuscripts and spoke about similarities of Urdu, Arabic and Persian.’
    • ‘Loanwords from English, Arabic, Portuguese, Persian, and Hindi are also common, reflecting the history of the nation.’
    • ‘Urdu is a blend of four different languages - Hindi, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish - and is also spoken by Muslims in India.’
    • ‘Middle Persian is, in essence, today's Persian.’
    • ‘He is a linguist and fluently speaks in Urdu, Persian, Tamil, Nepali, Bengali, Hindi and Assamese, besides English and Khasi languages.’
    • ‘Since the 1970s, a growing number of Kurds have rediscovered their non-Turkish roots, based in part on Kurdish, an Indo-European language related to Persian.’
    • ‘Urdu was created by combining the languages of early invaders and settlers, including Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.’
    • ‘Written Persian is transcribed by a modified version of Arabic script, even though Persian is a member of the Indo-European family of languages.’
    • ‘Theaters show movies in Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, and English.’
    • ‘He even translated the Upanishads into Persian.’
    • ‘The Malay language borrows heavily from other languages, including Sanskrit, Portuguese, Persian, Arabic, and English.’
    • ‘Some speak Spanish, Persian, or American Sign Language.’
    • ‘There are many borrowed words from Arabic, Persian, and Russian, especially for technical and scientific terms.’
    • ‘Many European languages, but also Oriental languages are represented, such as Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Hebrew and even Chinese.’
    • ‘It is a pleasant amalgam of Persian, Arabic, Marathi, and Hindustani with Konkani as its base.’
    • ‘If successful, the World Service site plans to introduce this option in other languages including Arabic, Persian and Spanish later in the year.’
    • ‘In Southwest Asia, Persian, Semitic, and Turkic languages identify various ethnic groups.’
    • ‘A very substantial minority speaks a form of Persian called Tajik (about a third of Uzbeks, and the majority in Tajikistan).’
    1. 2.1 An earlier form of Persian spoken in ancient or medieval Persia.
      • ‘While Persian like Turkish has one gender, Sanskrit has three, i.e. male, female and neuter.’

Persian (or Farsi) is spoken in Iran (where it is the official language), Afghanistan (as Dari), and Tajikistan (as Tajik). Old Persian, written in cuneiform and attested from the 6th century BC, was the language of the Persian empire, which once extended from the Mediterranean to India. In the 2nd century BC the Persians created their own alphabet (Pahlavi), which was used until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century

adjective

  • Relating to ancient Persia or modern Iran or its people or language.

    • ‘Once the king was seen abandoning the field - he was easy to spot in his golden chariot - the Persian army collapsed.’
    • ‘Evidence of popular fascination with Iran's Persian heritage is everywhere.’
    • ‘In the same century, the Buyids, a Persian clan that was also Shi'ite in loyalty, managed to take over the ailing Abassid caliphs in Baghdad.’
    • ‘The Athenian fleet was operating in the northern Aegean, with a combined Corinthian and Spartan navy (now financed by Persian gold) in pursuit.’
    • ‘Such toleration also extended to oriental cults, one of the most prominent being that of Mithras, a Persian god who represented fair dealing and the victory of the soul after death.’
    • ‘In 525 B., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty.’
    • ‘He took a Persian wife, and encouraged his officers to do likewise, arguing against the traditional Greek parochialism.’
    • ‘The Greeks held the pass but eventually a traitorous Greek led a Persian force through the hills to the rear of the Greek forces, who were subsequently massacred.’
    • ‘Influenced by the style of ancient Persian gardens, it used only dark plants; the palette was strictly limited to black, deep crimson, purple and chocolate browns.’
    • ‘The first calendar was located in inscriptions at Persepolis, an ancient Persian city located near the present city of Shiraz that was the symbolic capital of the Achaemenids.’
    • ‘Though chapter 4 does provide information on ancient Persian medicine, it would have been better if it had covered more elaborate information.’
    • ‘Now that he was king of Persia, Alexander began to adopt Persian dress, at least when dealing with Persian subjects.’
    • ‘In 538 BC Persian emperor Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.’
    • ‘The restaurant has a clean look, its teal walls decorated with a few pictures of Persian artifacts and Iran.’
    • ‘Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat.’
    • ‘The Muscat rulers established trading posts on the Persian coast and also exercised a measure of control over the Makran coast (now Pakistan).’
    • ‘The mighty Persian empire (founded in Asia a generation earlier by Cyrus the Great and expanded by his son Cambyses to take in Egypt) is in crisis, since a usurper has occupied the throne.’
    • ‘In 1218, a caravan of merchants arrived at Utrar, on the Persian frontier.’
    • ‘Our bus has been chugging uphill out of the city of Shiraz in southern Iran on the road to Persepolis, the ancient Persian capital.’

Persian (or Farsi) is spoken in Iran (where it is the official language), Afghanistan (as Dari), and Tajikistan (as Tajik). Old Persian, written in cuneiform and attested from the 6th century BC, was the language of the Persian empire, which once extended from the Mediterranean to India. In the 2nd century BC the Persians created their own alphabet (Pahlavi), which was used until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century

Origin

Middle English: from Old French persien, from Latin Persia, via Greek from Old Persian pārsa ‘Persia’ ( modern Persian pārs, Arabic fārs).

Pronunciation

Persian

/ˈpəːʒ(ə)n//ˈpəːʃ(ə)n/