Definition of Persian in US English:

Persian

noun

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

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

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

adjective

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

    Persian (or Farsi) is spoken by more than 30 million people in Iran, by about 5 million in Afghanistan (as Dari), and by another 2.2 million in 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

    • ‘In 1218, a caravan of merchants arrived at Utrar, on the Persian frontier.’
    • ‘The Athenian fleet was operating in the northern Aegean, with a combined Corinthian and Spartan navy (now financed by Persian gold) in pursuit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Though chapter 4 does provide information on ancient Persian medicine, it would have been better if it had covered more elaborate information.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our bus has been chugging uphill out of the city of Shiraz in southern Iran on the road to Persepolis, the ancient Persian capital.’
    • ‘In 538 BC Persian emperor Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.’
    • ‘In 525 B., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Evidence of popular fascination with Iran's Persian heritage is everywhere.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat.’
    • ‘Now that he was king of Persia, Alexander began to adopt Persian dress, at least when dealing with Persian subjects.’
    • ‘Once the king was seen abandoning the field - he was easy to spot in his golden chariot - the Persian army collapsed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The restaurant has a clean look, its teal walls decorated with a few pictures of Persian artifacts and Iran.’
    • ‘He took a Persian wife, and encouraged his officers to do likewise, arguing against the traditional Greek parochialism.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

Persian

/ˈpərZHən//ˈpərʒən/