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[par-ish] /ˈpær ɪʃ/
an ecclesiastical district having its own church and member of the clergy.
a local church with its field of activity.
(in Louisiana) a county.
the people of an ecclesiastical or civil parish.
Curling. house (def 20).
on the parish, British.
  1. receiving charity from local authorities.
  2. Informal. meagerly or inadequately supplied.
Origin of parish
1250-1300; Middle English, variant of parosshe < Middle French paroisse < Late Latin parochia, alteration of paroecia < Late Greek paroikía, derivative of Greek pároikos neighbor, (in Christian usage) sojourner (see paroicous); see -ia
Related forms
interparish, adjective
transparish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for parish
  • And forget about parish meetings in which people bat about random ideas on how to keep the church going.
  • Locals gather to gossip beneath its cheery red sign, and on its walls they post important notices regarding parish life.
  • The parish priest advised him that it was as dangerous now as it was then.
  • He says that after five years in office he wants to return to working as a parish priest.
  • Lots of nasty, vicious little parish pump spats and plausible deniability.
  • parish committees are the equivalents of local chapters.
  • It isn't even taken all that seriously by parish priests.
  • Some were sold, often to raise money for a parish, and a whole new market was created.
  • But he and his parish are not waiting for the police or the government or the cavalry to come to their rescue.
  • We welcomed several major firms to the parish, bringing with them high-paying jobs.
British Dictionary definitions for parish


a subdivision of a diocese, having its own church and a clergyman related adjective parochial
the churchgoers of such a subdivision
(in England and, formerly, Wales) the smallest unit of local government in rural areas
(in Louisiana) a unit of local government corresponding to a county in other states of the US
the people living in a parish
(history) on the parish, receiving parochial relief
Word Origin
C13: from Old French paroisse, from Church Latin parochia, from Late Greek paroikia, from paroikos Christian, sojourner, from Greek: neighbour, from para-1 (beside) + oikos house
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parish

c.1300, "district with its own church; members of such a church," from Anglo-French paroche, parosse (late 11c.), Old French paroisse, from Late Latin parochia "a diocese," alteration of Late Greek paroikia "a diocese or parish," from paroikos "a sojourner" (in Christian writers), in classical Greek, "neighbor," from para- "near" (see para- (1)) + oikos "house" (see villa).

Sense development unclear, perhaps from "sojourner" as epithet of early Christians as spiritual sojourners in the material world. In early Church writing the word was used in a more general sense than Greek diokesis, though by 13c. they were synonymous. Replaced Old English preostscyr, literally "priest-shire."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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