par·a·dise (părə-dīs′, -dīz′)
1. often Paradise The Garden of Eden.
a. In various religious traditions, the Edenic or heavenly abode of righteous souls after death.
b. According to some forms of Christian belief, an intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the Resurrection.
a. A place of great beauty or happiness: saw the park as a paradise within a noisy city.
b. A state of delight or happiness: The newlyweds have been in paradise for months.
[Middle English paradis, from Old French, from Late Latin paradīsus, from Greek paradeisos, garden, enclosed park, paradise, from Avestan pairidaēza-, enclosure, park : pairi-, around; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + daēza-, wall; see dheigh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
par′a·di·sia·cal (-dĭ-sīə-kəl, -zī-), par′a·di·siac (-ăk), par′a·di·sai·cal (-dĭ-sāĭ-kəl, -zā-), par′a·di·saic (-ĭk), par′a·disal (-dīsəl, -zəl) adj.
par′a·di·sia·cal·ly, par′a·di·sai·cal·ly, par′a·disal·ly adv.
Word History: From an etymological perspective at least, paradise is located in ancient Iran—for it is there that the word paradise ultimately originates. The old Iranian language Avestan had a noun pairidaēza-, "a wall enclosing a garden or orchard," which is composed of pairi-, "around," and daēza- "wall." The adverb and preposition pairi is related to the equivalent Greek form peri, as in perimeter. Daēza- comes from the Indo-European root *dheigh-, "to mold, form, shape." Zoroastrian religion encouraged maintaining arbors, orchards, and gardens, and even the kings of austere Sparta were edified by seeing the Great King of Persia planting and maintaining his own trees in his own garden. Xenophon, a Greek mercenary soldier who spent some time in the Persian army and later wrote histories, recorded the pairidaēza- surrounding the orchard as paradeisos, using it not to refer to the wall itself but to the huge parks that Persian nobles loved to build and hunt in. This Greek word was used in the Septuagint translation of Genesis to refer to the Garden of Eden, and then Latin translations of the Bible used the Greek word in its Latinized form, paradisus. The Latin word was then borrowed into Old English and used to designate the Garden of Eden. In Middle English, the form of the word was influenced by its Old French equivalent, paradis, and it is from such Middle English forms as paradis that our Modern English word descends.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.