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[pahr-suh n] /ˈpɑr sən/

a member of the clergy, especially a Protestant minister; pastor; rector.
the holder or incumbent of a parochial benefice, especially an Anglican.
a parish priest in the Church of England, formerly applied only to those who held ecclesiastical benefices
any clergyman
(NZ) a nonconformist minister

late 12c., from Anglo-French and Old French persone “curate, parson, holder of Church office” (12c.), from Medieval Latin persona “parson” (see person). Ecclesiastical use is obscure; it might refer to the “person” legally holding church property, or it may be an abbreviation of persona ecclesiae “person of the church.”


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