from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person affected by leprosy.
  • n. A person who is avoided by others; a pariah.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who has leprosy.
  • n. A person who is shunned; a pariah.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A person affected with leprosy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike with leprosy; leperize; taint with leprosy.
  • n. Leprosy.
  • n. A person affected with leprosy.
  • n. An obsolete form of leaper.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a pariah who is avoided by others
  • n. a person afflicted with leprosy


Middle English, from lepre, leprosy, from Old French, from Late Latin lepra, from Greek lepros, scaly, from lepis, scale.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English lepre, leprosy, from Old French, from Latin leprae, lepra, from Ancient Greek λέπρα (lepra). (Wiktionary)


  • Today, the term leper is often used to refer to a person excluded from society.


  • Such a leper is a lonely outcast, living in constant fear of discovery and slowly and surely rotting away.

    The Lepers of Molokai

  • But only making the country worse for another 4-8 years and turning your candidate into political leper is not the way to do it. sheep

    Report: Clinton able to continue run by postponing debt repayment

  • In the first place, the leper is not torn ruthlessly from his family.

    Chapter 7

  • On the other hand, if that same leper is in Molokai, the surgeon will operate upon the foot, remove the ulcer, cleanse the bone, and put a complete stop to that particular ravage of the disease.

    Chapter 7

  • If the leper is in hiding, he cannot be operated upon, the necrosis will continue to eat its way up the bone of the leg, and in a brief and horrible time that leper will die of gangrene or some other terrible complication.

    Chapter 7

  • Nor, after having been declared a leper, is the patient immediately rushed off to Molokai.

    Chapter 7

  • Board of Health, and the leper is ordered straight to Molokai.

    Chapter 7

  • That a leper is unclean, however, should be insisted upon; and the segregation of lepers, from what little is known of the disease, should be rigidly maintained.

    Chapter 7

  • If the leper is in hiding, he cannot be operated upon, the necrosis will continue to eat its way up the bone of the leg, and in

    Chapter 7


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Good stuff so far; I haven't got further than the introduction yet.

    February 19, 2009

  • Wow. That's interesting, VO. How is the rest of the book? Good?

    February 19, 2009

  • 'So why did Moses say things like, "And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean..." and, "Command the children of Israel, that they shall put out of the camp every leper..."? On top of everything else, it seems leprosy sufferers are the victims of mistranslation. The Hebrew word tsara'ath, translated as lepra in Latin and Greek, conveys the notion of one who is stricken or defiled, insofar as the concept is at all translatable into a modern idiom; it certainly does not mean leprosy, as we understand it. It is generally taken to be a generic term covering a range of dermatological diseases: leukoderma, vitiligo and psoriasis are among the most frequently cited.'
    Tony Gould, Don't Fence Me In: From Curse to Cure: Leprosy In Modern Times, p. 3

    February 19, 2009

  • "On the whole, the students were incredibly bright. But, as they are acutely aware, affluent young people in mobile, capitalist countries such as Britain and the US are the products of a certain sort of meritocratic system, a mighty achievement machine. They are weighed and scored at birth and the aptitude tests and the skill-enhancing tutoring sessions just keep coming. Educators, parents, psychologists and child development experts have constructed this endless series of hoops and challenges, so that by the time the young talents apply for university they have been so honed for success that the best of them have learnt several languages, started a few companies, cured at least one or two formerly fatal diseases and turned water into wine while also demonstrating their commitment to humanity by touring Tibet and tutoring the locals on environmental awareness skills and conflict resolution techniques. At least that’s what they put on their applications. As one university president put it: 'I don’t know where these kids find lepers, but they find them and they read to them.'�?
    - David Brooks, 'Working hard at being shallow and sycophantic', The Times, 16 May 2003.

    December 10, 2008

  • note that its reverse is "repel"

    December 27, 2006