1 [pah-rah, pahr-ah]
noun, plural paras, para.
a former copper coin of Turkey, the 40th part of a piaster.

1680–90; < Turkish < Persian pāra literally, piece Unabridged


2 [pah-rah, pahr-ah]
noun, plural paras, para.
formerly, an aluminum-bronze coin and monetary unit of Yugoslavia, the 100th part of a dinar.
a coin and monetary unit of Macedonia and Serbia, the 100th part of a dinar.

1905–10; < Serbo-Croatian pàra < Turkish; see para1


3 [par-uh]
adjective Chemistry.
pertaining to or occupying two positions (1, 4) in the benzene ring that are separated by two carbon atoms. Compare ortho, meta2.

1875–80; independent use of para-1


4 [par-uh]
noun Informal.
a paraprofessional.
a paratrooper.

1955–60; by shortening of words compounded with para-1, para-3


5 [par-uh]
noun, plural paras, parae [par-ee] . Obstetrics.
Also called parity. a woman's status regarding the bearing of viable offspring: usually followed by a Roman numeral designating the number of times the woman has given birth.
the woman herself.
Compare gravida.

1880–85; extracted from primapara, multipara, etc.


[pah-rah] .
an estuary in N Brazil: an arm of the Amazon. 200 miles (320 km) long; 40 miles (65 km) wide.


a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, most often attached to verbs and verbal derivatives, with the meanings “at or to one side of, beside, side by side” (parabola; paragraph; parallel; paralysis ), “beyond, past, by” (paradox; paragogue ); by extension from these senses, this prefix came to designate objects or activities auxiliary to or derivative of that denoted by the base word (parody; paronomasia ), and hence abnormal or defective (paranoia ), a sense now common in modern scientific coinages (parageusia; paralexia ). As an English prefix, para-1, may have any of these senses; it is also productive in the naming of occupational roles considered ancillary or subsidiary to roles requiring more training, or of a higher status, on such models as paramedical, and paraprofessional:, paralegal; paralibrarian; parapolice .
Chemistry. a combining form designating the para (1, 4) position in the benzene ring. Abbreviation: p-. Compare meta- ( def 2c ), ortho- ( def 2b ). See diag. under ortho-.
Also, especially before a vowel, par-.

< Greek para-, combining form representing pará (preposition) beside, alongside of, by, beyond


a combining form meaning “guard against,” occurring in loanwords from French, or, via French, from Italian: parachute; parasol .

< French < Italian para, 3rd singular present of parare to prepare against, ward off < Latin parāre to prepare


a combining form extracted from parachute, forming compounds denoting persons or things utilizing parachutes or landed by parachute: paradrop; paradoctor; paraglider; paratrooper .

Para. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
para1 (ˈpɑːrə)
n , pl -ras, -ra
a monetary unit of Serbia worth one hundredth of a dinar; formerly a monetary unit of Yugoslavia
[C17: Serbo-Croat, via Turkish from Persian pārah piece, portion]

para2 (ˈpærə)
1.  a.  a soldier in an airborne unit
 b.  an airborne unit
2.  a paragraph

para3 (ˈpɑːrɑː)
n , pl para
horseshoe fern, Also called: king fern a New Zealand fern, Marattia salicina, with long heavy fronds

Pará (Portuguese paˈra)
1.  a state of N Brazil, on the Atlantic: mostly dense tropical rainforest Capital: Belém. Pop: 6 453 683 (2002). Area: 1 248 042 sq km (474 896 sq miles)
2.  another name for Belém
3.  an estuary in N Brazil into which flow the Tocantins River and a branch of the Amazon. Length: about 320 km (200 miles)

para- or (before a vowel) par-1
1.  beside; near: parameter; parathyroid
2.  beyond: parapsychology
3.  resembling: paramnesia
4.  defective; abnormal: paraesthesia
5.  subsidiary to: paraphysis
6.  (usually in italics) ortho- Compare meta- p- denoting that an organic compound contains a benzene ring with substituents attached to atoms that are directly opposite across the ring (the 1,4- positions): paradinitrobenzene; para-cresol
7.  denoting an isomer, polymer, or compound related to a specified compound: paraldehyde; paracasein
8.  Compare ortho- denoting the form of a diatomic substance in which the spins of the two constituent atoms are antiparallel: parahydrogen
[from Greek para (prep) alongside, beyond]
par- or (before a vowel) par-1
[from Greek para (prep) alongside, beyond]

combining form
indicating an object that acts as a protection against something: parachute; parasol
[via French from Italian para-, from parare to defend, shield against, ultimately from Latin parāre to prepare]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Main Entry:  para
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See paraeducator's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

prefix meaning "alongside, beyond, altered, contrary," from Gk. para- from para (prep.) "beside, near, from, against, contrary to," cognate with Skt. para "beyond;" Hitt. para "on, forth;" L. pro "before, for, in favor of," per- "through;" Goth. faur "along;" O.E. for- "off, away" (see fore).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

para par·a (pār'ə)
A woman who has given birth to an infant or infants.

para- or par-

  1. Beside; near; alongside: paranucleus.

  2. Beyond: parapsychology.

  3. Incorrect; abnormal: paradipsia.

  4. Similar to; resembling: paratyphoid.

  5. Subsidiary; assistant: paramedical.

  6. Isomeric; polymeric: paraldehyde.

  7. A diatomic molecule in which the nuclei have opposite spin directions: parahydrogen.

  8. Abbr. p- Of or relating to one of three possible isomers of a benzene ring with two attached chemical groups in which the carbon atoms with attached groups are separated by two unsubstituted carbon atoms. Usually in italic: para-bromoiodobenzene.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Hence, the simplest logical conclusion is that he did the trick using para-normal methods.
Acute rhino-sinusitis is an inflammatory condition of one or more of the para-nasal cavities that usually lasts up to four weeks.
The first case is called ortho, and the second para.
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