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Apr 19, 2011
This week's theme
Words derived from musical instruments

This week's words
calliopean
pariah
clarion
second fiddle
highfalutin

A parai drum player
A parai drum player

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

pariah

PRONUNCIATION:
(puh-RY-uh)

MEANING:
noun: An outcast.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Tamil paraiyar, plural of paraiyan (drummer), from parai (drum, to tell). Because the drum players were considered among the lowest in the former caste system of India, the word took on the general meaning of an outcast. Earliest documented use: 1613.

NOTES:
The word is offensive to the members of the Paraiyar community. For a discussion of this see here.

USAGE:
"Gaddafi's rule has seen him go from revolutionary hero to international pariah, to valued strategic partner, and back to pariah again."
Martin Asser; The Muammar Gaddafi Story; BBC News (London, UK); Mar 25, 2011.

"Sugar has replaced fat as our society's food pariah."
Randy Shore; Sugar: The New Pariah; Vancouver Sun (Canada); Mar 12, 2011.

See more usage examples of pariah in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

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