Parthian

adjective Par·thi·an \ ˈpär-thē-ən \

Definition of Parthian

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of ancient Parthia or its people
2 : relating to, being, or having the effect of a shot fired while in real or feigned retreat

Parthian

noun

Parthian was our Word of the Day on 12/21/2006. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

The adjective "Parthian," which often shows up in the phrase "Parthian shot," has its roots in the military strategies of the ancient Parthians. One of the fighting maneuvers of Parthian horsemen was to discharge arrows while in real or feigned retreat. The maneuver must have been memorable, because "Parthian shot" continues to be used for a "parting shot," or a cutting remark made by a person who is leaving, many centuries after the dissolution of the Parthian empire.

First Known Use of parthian

1565

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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