Definition of parson in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpärs(ə)n/


1A beneficed member of the clergy; a rector or a vicar.
Example sentences
  • But, for the modern Episcopalian, the country parson is probably an ideal figure, remote and more longed for than experienced.
  • This seems especially true of recent fiction written by people who have never served a parish as its parson.
  • You tell us not to believe what parsons say about religion.
1.1 informal Any member of the clergy, especially a Protestant one.
Example sentences
  • While it was fronted largely by bluff Protestant parsons, it was backed by Stalin's branch office in the Australian Communist Party.
  • But a Protestant parson also visited the place.
  • Georg Frobenius's father was Christian Ferdinand Frobenius, a Protestant parson, and his mother was Christine Elizabeth Friedrich.



Pronunciation: /ˌpärˈsänik/


Pronunciation: /pärˈsänikəl/


Middle English: from Old French persone, from Latin persona 'person' (in medieval Latin 'rector').

  • person from Middle English:

    When first used in English person meant ‘a role or character assumed in real life or in a play’ as well as ‘an individual human being’. The first sense has largely been taken over by persona, which came directly in the mid 18th century from the source of person, Latin persona ‘actor's mask, character in a play’, and also ‘human being’. The Latin term was also used by Christian writers as a term for the rector of a parish, what we would now call a parson (Middle English). From the same source come impersonate (early 17th century) originally meaning ‘personify’, and personnel (early 19th century) from French and which still keeps the original stress on the final syllable normal in that language.

Words that rhyme with parson

arson, Carson, fasten, sarsen

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·son

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