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

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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

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The first known use of Parthian was in 1565

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Cite this Entry

“Parthian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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