Definition of Persian in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərZHən/


1A native or inhabitant of ancient or modern Persia (or Iran), or a person of Persian descent.
Example sentences
  • The ancient Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and East Indians used it to treat certain illnesses.
  • There are also smaller groups of Ukrainians, Turks, Persians, and Jews.
  • More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians used mastiffs wearing spiked collars to attack their enemies.
1.1 (also Persian cat) A long-haired domestic cat of a breed originating in Persia, having a broad round head, stocky body, and short thick legs.
Example sentences
  • By that time Persians and other longhair cats - namely the Angora and the Russian - outnumbered shorthairs four-to-one at shows.
  • The prominent use of Persians in exotic shorthair breeding programs ensures the continued creation of exotics that carry a recessive gene for long hair.
  • To be fair, actually, that credit should go to the American shorthair fanciers who bred some of their cats to Persians.
2The Iranian language of modern Iran, written in Arabic script. Also called Farsi.
Example sentences
  • Since the 1970s, a growing number of Kurds have rediscovered their non-Turkish roots, based in part on Kurdish, an Indo-European language related to Persian.
  • Written Persian is transcribed by a modified version of Arabic script, even though Persian is a member of the Indo-European family of languages.
  • If successful, the World Service site plans to introduce this option in other languages including Arabic, Persian and Spanish later in the year.
2.1An earlier form of Persian spoken in ancient or medieval Persia.
Example sentences
  • While Persian like Turkish has one gender, Sanskrit has three, i.e. male, female and neuter.


Relating to ancient Persia or modern Iran or its people or language.

Persian (or Farsi) is spoken by more than 30 million people in Iran, by about 5 million in Afghanistan (as Dari), and by another 2.2 million in Tajikistan (as Tajik). Old Persian, written in cuneiform and attested from the 6th century bc, was the language of the Persian empire, which once extended from the Mediterranean to India. In the 2nd century bc, the Persians created their own alphabet (Pahlavi), which was used until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century.

Example sentences
  • Our bus has been chugging uphill out of the city of Shiraz in southern Iran on the road to Persepolis, the ancient Persian capital.
  • The first calendar was located in inscriptions at Persepolis, an ancient Persian city located near the present city of Shiraz that was the symbolic capital of the Achaemenids.
  • The mighty Persian empire (founded in Asia a generation earlier by Cyrus the Great and expanded by his son Cambyses to take in Egypt) is in crisis, since a usurper has occupied the throne.


Middle English: from Old French persien, from Latin Persia, via Greek from Old Persian pārsa 'Persia' (modern Persian pārs, Arabic fārs).

Words that rhyme with Persian

animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, bioconversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Per·sian

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