Meaning of pariah in English:


Pronunciation /pəˈrʌɪə/

See synonyms for pariah

Translate pariah into Spanish


  • 1An outcast.

    ‘they were treated as social pariahs’
    • ‘the country is becoming an international pariah state’
    • ‘They have since been treated as the pariahs of the political establishment.’
    • ‘Now, six decades later, smokers have become the social pariahs: excluded, if not frowned upon, by contemporary behavioral codes and even municipal law.’
    • ‘Traveling alone (especially for women) is seen as sad and desperate, a cardinal sin, reserved for those social pariahs who talk to their cats.’
    • ‘So everyone - or nearly everyone - makes sure to bring someone along as a security blanket, so they don't look like 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Australians do not, I am sure, actively desire to be international pariahs.’
    • ‘That's a pretty large segment of the population to reduce to the status of political pariahs.’
    • ‘He was a pariah in the international community.’
    • ‘Such extreme views, however, have not made him a social pariah.’
    • ‘By today's standards, the Roman Empire would be an international pariah.’
    • ‘So now I'm not only a big fatty, I'm also a social pariah, am I?’
    • ‘There's no end to the advantages of being an international pariah.’
    • ‘Spring allergies will be mistaken for deathly disease and your runny nose will make you a social pariah.’
    • ‘Racist jokes that would make one a social pariah in the United States are told boldly on television.’
    • ‘Eventually, she turned her back on society, becoming the social pariah that she is now.’
    • ‘The regime should be treated as a pariah, not just as a hostile but recognizable political competitor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    outcast, persona non grata, leper, reject, untouchable, undesirable
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  • 2 historical A member of an indigenous people of southern India originally functioning as ceremonial drummers but later having a low caste.


In the sense ‘an outcast’ the word pariah is considered highly offensive in southern India


Early 17th century from Tamil paṛaiyan, Malayalam paṟayan ‘(hereditary) drummer’, from Tamil paṛai and Malayalam paṟa ‘a drum’.