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para- 1

or par-
1. Beside; near; alongside: parathyroid.
2. Beyond: paranormal.
3. Incorrect; abnormal: paresthesia.
4. Similar to; resembling: paratyphoid fever.
5. Subsidiary; assistant: paraprofessional.
6. Isomeric; polymeric: paraldehyde.
7. Of or relating to one of three possible isomers of a benzene ring with two attached chemical groups in which the carbon atoms with attached groups are separated by two unsubstituted carbon atoms: para-aminobenzoic acid.

[Greek, from para, beside; see per in Indo-European roots.]

para- 2

Parachute; parachutist: paratroops.

[From parachute.]


or before a vowel


1. beside; near: parameter; parathyroid.
2. beyond: parapsychology.
3. resembling: paramnesia.
4. defective; abnormal: paraesthesia.
5. subsidiary to: paraphysis.
6. (Chemistry) (usually in italics) denoting that an organic compound contains a benzene ring with substituents attached to atoms that are directly opposite across the ring (the 1,4- positions): paradinitrobenzene; para-cresol. Abbreviation: p- Compare ortho-4, meta-4
7. (Chemistry) denoting an isomer, polymer, or compound related to a specified compound: paraldehyde; paracasein.
8. (Chemistry) denoting the form of a diatomic substance in which the spins of the two constituent atoms are antiparallel: parahydrogen. Compare ortho-6
[from Greek para (prep) alongside, beyond]


combining form
indicating an object that acts as a protection against something: parachute; parasol.
[via French from Italian para-, from parare to defend, shield against, ultimately from Latin parāre to prepare]


(pɑˈrɑ, ˈpɑr ɑ)

n., pl. -ras, -ra.
a monetary unit of Yugoslavia, equal to 1/100 of a dinar.
[1680–90; < Turkish < Persian pāra literally, piece]


(ˈpær ə)

pertaining to or occupying two positions (1, 4) in the benzene ring that are separated by two carbon atoms. Abbr.: p- Compare ortho, meta.


(ˈpær ə)

n., pl. par•as. Informal.
1. paraprofessional.
2. paratrooper.


(ˈpær ə)

n., pl. par•as, par•ae (ˈpær i)
1. Also called parity. a woman's status regarding the bearing of offspring: usu. followed by a numeral designating the number of times the woman has given birth.
2. the woman herself. Compare gravida.
[1880–85; extracted from primipara, multipara, etc.]



1. a state in N Brazil. 5,522,783; 481,869 sq. mi. (1,248,042 sq. km). Cap.: Belém.
2. a river in N Brazil: the S estuary of the Amazon. 200 mi. (320 km) long.


1. a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, with the meanings “at or to one side of, beside, side by side” (parabola; paragraph), “beyond, past, by” (paradox); by extension designating objects or activities auxiliary to or derivative of that denoted by the base word (parody; paronomasia), and hence abnormal or defective (paranoia). As an English prefix, para-1 is also productive in the naming of occupational roles considered ancillary or subsidiary to roles requiring more training, or of a higher status: paralegal; paraprofessional.
2. a combining form used in the names of benzene derivatives in which the substituting group occupies the para position in the benzene ring. Abbr.: p-
Also, esp. before a vowel, par-.
[< Greek para-, comb. form representing pará (preposition) beside, alongside of, by, beyond]


a combining form meaning “guard against”: parachute; parasol.
[< French < Italian para, 3d singular present of parare to prepare against, ward off < Latin parāre to prepare]


a combining form extracted from parachute, forming compounds denoting persons or things utilizing parachutes or landed by parachute: paratrooper.


References in classic literature ?
Go 'long," I said; "you ain't more than a para- graph.
The crew said they weren't going to Bankok--a hundred and fifty days' passage--in a something hooker that wanted pumping eight hours out of the twenty-four; and the nautical papers inserted again the little para- graph: 'Judea.