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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Parish


PAR'ISH, noun [Low Latin parochia; Gr. a dwelling or near residence; near, and house, or to dwell; or more probably from the Gr. a salary or largess, an allowance for support; to afford, yield or supply, whence Latin parocha, entertainment given to embassadors at the public expense. If parish is to be deduced from either of these sources, it is probably from the latter, and parish is equivalent to benefice, living, as prebend, from Latin proebeo.

1. The precinct or territorial jurisdiction of a secular priest, or the precinct, the inhabitants of which belong to the same church.

2. In some of the American states, parish is an ecclesiastical society not bounded by territorial limits; but the inhabitants of a town belonging to one church, though residing promiscuously among the people belonging to another church, are called a parish This is particularly the case in Massachusetts. In Connecticut, the legal appellation of such a society is ecclesiastical society.

PAR'ISH, adjective Belonging to a parish; having the spiritual charge of the inhabitants belonging to the same church; as a parish priest.

1. Belonging to a parish; as a parish church; parish records.

2. Maintained by the parish; as parish poor.