pariah[pə rī′ə; Brit also par′ē ə]
- The definition of a pariah is a person who is rejected from society or who is an outcast.
An example of a pariah is a person no one will speak to or interact with.
- a member of one of the lowest social castes in India
- any person despised or rejected by others; outcast
Origin of pariahTamil paṛaiyan, drummer ; from paṛai, a drum: the pariah was a hereditary drumbeater
- A social outcast: “Shortly Tom came upon the juvenile pariah of the village, Huckleberry Finn, son of the town drunkard” (Mark Twain).
- A Dalit.
Origin of pariahFrom Tamil pa&rlowmac;aiyan, member of a Dalit group of southern India traditionally performing as drummers and performing other tasks considered unclean (from pa&rlowdot;ai, festival drum) and its Malayalam equivalent, pa&rlowmac;ayan (from pa&rlowdot;a, festival drum). Word History: Pariah comes from Tamil pa&rlowmac;aiyan and its Malayalam equivalent pa&rlowmac;ayan, words that refer to a member of a Dalit group of southern India and Sri Lanka that had very low status in the traditional caste system of India. (The plural of the Tamil word pa&rlowmac;aiyan is pa&rlowmac;aiyar. The symbol &rlowmac; in this Tamil word transliterates a letter pronounced as an alveolar trill in some dialects of Tamil, while it transliterates a letter pronounced as an alveolar liquid in Malayalam.) Because of their low status, the pa&rlowmac;aiyar found work performing undesirable tasks considered ritually impure by members of the higher castes, such as disposing of the corpses of dead cattle and performing music and carrying out other functions at funerals. The term pa&rlowmac;aiyar is derived from pa&rlowmac;ai (in Malayalam, pa&rlowmac;a), a name of a kind of drum played as part of certain festivals and ceremonies. Players of this drum have traditionally been drawn from the pa&rlowmac;aiyar group. The word pariah begins to appear in English in travelers' accounts of Indian society and at first refers specifically to the low-status pa&rlowmac;aiyar. One such occurrence of the word dates from as early as 1613. As British colonial power began to expand in India, however, the British began to use the word pariah in a general sense for any Indian person considered an outcaste or simply of low caste in the traditional Indian caste system. By the 1800s, pariah had come to be used of any person who is despised, reviled, or shunned.
From Tamil à®ªà®±à¯ˆà®¯à®°à¯ (paá¹Ÿaiyar), from à®ªà®±à¯ˆà®¯à®©à¯ (paá¹Ÿaiyaá¹‰, “drummer"), from à®ªà®±à¯ˆ (paá¹Ÿai, “drum"). Parai refers in Tamil to a type of large drum designed to announce the king's notices to the public. The people who made a living using the parai were called paraiyar; in the caste-ridden society they were in the lower strata, hence the derisive paraiah and pariah. Now the term is used to describe an outcast in English.