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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The natural result followed, that he was deprived of his parish.

  • His eyes were black an' his hair was red an' his voice like the parish bull.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • In the foreground a sign post with the legend, 'Beggars not allowed in this parish.'

    The Road to Damascus August Strindberg
  • It had been the dear pet plan they had nursed in common with all the parish.

  • His mother made her living as she herself best knew, with occasional well-begrudged assistance from the parish.

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
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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