par·​ry | \ ˈper-ē How to pronounce parry (audio) , ˈpa-rē \
parried; parrying

Definition of parry

intransitive verb

1 : to ward off a weapon or blow parried forcefully and knocked his opponent's sword out of his hand
2 : to evade or turn aside something can parry and thrust … without losing the thread of his argument— Stewart Cockburn

transitive verb

1 : to ward off (something, such as a blow) parried the thrust of his opponent's sword
2 : to evade especially by an adroit answer parried the question

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Other Words from parry

parry noun

What do parry, parapet, and parasol have in common?

Parry (which is used in fencing, among other applications) probably comes from parez, a form of the French verb parer, meaning "to guard or ward off." Its history can be compared with that of two other English words: parapet and parasol. Those two terms go back to an Italian word (parare) that means "to shield or guard." (A parapet shields soldiers and a parasol wards off the sun.) All three—parry, parapet, and parasol—can ultimately be traced to the Latin parare, meaning "to prepare." And they're not alone. Other descendants of the Latin term include apparatus, disparate, emperor, and even prepare.

Examples of parry in a Sentence

He parried the thrust of his opponent's sword. He parried and then threw a punch. She cleverly parried the reporters' questions.
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Recent Examples on the Web The win also helped the Stars parry a pair of boogeymen: overtimes and the Hurricanes. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, 26 Apr. 2021 Psaki herself frequently had to parry questions of terminology. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 19 Apr. 2021 To change their fate, the workers must win a series of jousting matches against rivals using their antenna to parry and jab at the competition. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Apr. 2021 Their business partners may serve as spectators, taking great interest in their CIO’s ability to parry questions and respond to challenges. Mark Settle, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 Walker was instrumental in the successful 2016 debate prep; no one knows better how to parry hostile questions about President Trump’s record than Sanders; and Bondi brought the sort of probing prosecutor dynamic that Harris will deploy. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 7 Oct. 2020 Lo’eau LaBonta fired a shot from the left side of the box that Eckerstrom did well to parry away, but an on-running Rodriguez followed-up the rebound with a leaping one-time tap-in, putting the Royals up 1-0. oregonlive, 4 Oct. 2020 As the Biden campaign has ramped up digital and television ad spending – even following the first presidential debate this week – the Trump campaign has attempted to parry, buying out critical space on YouTube's homepage. Julia Musto, Fox News, 3 Oct. 2020 Iran is struggling to parry the impact of the virus while laboring under a tough U.S. sanctions regime that has slashed oil revenue and complicated the import of some medical supplies. Patrick Sykes,, 23 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of parry

1671, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for parry

borrowed from French parer "to ward off, avert" (perhaps directly from the plural imperative parez), going back to Middle French, probably borrowed from Italian parare "to prepare, adorn, avert, shield, keep out," going back to Latin parāre "to supply, provide, make ready" — more at pare

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Learn More About parry

Statistics for parry

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Parry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for parry



English Language Learners Definition of parry

: to defend yourself by turning or pushing aside (a punch, a weapon, etc.)
: to avoid giving a direct answer to (a question) by being skillful or clever


par·​ry | \ ˈper-ē How to pronounce parry (audio) \
parried; parrying

Kids Definition of parry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to turn aside an opponent's weapon or blow
2 : to avoid by a skillful answer She parried an embarrassing question.


plural parries

Kids Definition of parry (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of skillfully avoiding something

More from Merriam-Webster on parry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parry

Nglish: Translation of parry for Spanish Speakers


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