Parthian

adjective
Par·​thi·​an | \ ˈpär-thē-ən How to pronounce Parthian (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from Parthian

Parthian noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Parthian

Time Traveler for Parthian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Parthian was in 1565

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about Parthian

Statistics for Parthian

Cite this Entry

“Parthian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Parthian. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Comments on Parthian

What made you want to look up Parthian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!