an outcast.
any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided.
(initial capital letter) a member of a low caste in southern India and Burma.

1605–15; < Tamil paṟaiyar, plural of paṟaiyan literally, drummer (from a hereditary duty of the caste), derivative of paṟai a festival drum

pariahdom, noun
pariahism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pariah (pəˈraɪə, ˈpærɪə)
1.  a social outcast
2.  (formerly) a member of a low caste in South India
[C17: from Tamil paraiyan drummer, from parai drum; so called because members of the caste were the drummers at festivals]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1613, from Port. paria or directly from Tamil paraiyar, pl. of paraiyan "drummer" (at festivals, the hereditary duty of members of the largest of the lower castes of southern India), from parai "large festival drum." Especially numerous at Madras, where its members supplied most of the domestics in European
service. Applied by Hindus and Europeans to members of any low Hindu caste and even to outcastes. Extended meaning "social outcast" is first attested 1819.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
pariah [(puh-reye-uh)]

An outcast; a member of a low caste or class.

Note: The word originally stems from the caste system of India, which put pariahs in a very low place in society. In the United States, it refers to those of low social class or social status.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


member of a low-caste group of Hindu India, formerly known as "untouchables" but renamed by the Indian social reformer Mahatma Gandhi as Harijans (children of the god Hari Visnu, or, simply, children of God). The word pariah-originally derived from Tamil paraiyar, "drummer"-once referred to the Paraiyan, a Tamil caste group of labourers and village servants of low status, but the meaning was extended to embrace many groups outside the so-called clean caste groups, with widely varying degrees of status. See also untouchable.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The pariah of social networks lost nearly half of its unique visitors over the
  course of the past year.
Even if one's marriage was a sham, divorce made a woman a social pariah in the
  Victorian era.
The rumor of illegitimacy, says Isbouts, would have made him a pariah in his
  small village.
In her teens she accidentally (or so she says) burns down a friend's house,
  thus becoming a pariah in her birth family.
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