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

Other Words from parry

parry noun

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

Parry (which is used in fencing, as well as in other applications) was borrowed from French parer, meaning "to ward off" or "to avert," and may specifically have come directly from the plural imperative form of that word, parez. The French likely borrowed the word from Italian parare, meaning "to prepare, adorn, avert, shield, keep out." That word's source is Latin parāre, meaning "to supply, provide, make ready," an ancestor to many familiar English words, among them prepare, repair, emperor, separate, and apparatus.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web As tusks had, these new spindly structures likely manifested first as weapons, offering ancient deer fresh oomph to push and parry their rivals. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 2 Aug. 2022 Petrovic dived right to parry Castellanos’s first attempt, Ford signaling a penalty following a VAR review nearly two minutes after Castellanos and Maxi Moralez fell in a clash with Henry Kessler. Frank Dell'apa,, 9 July 2022 During a brief rehearsal of a scene, Warren and James easily parry Shakespeare’s sharp, swift, and emotionally fraught dialogue back and forth. Terry Byrne,, 14 July 2022 First up: parry the pawns to knock their little heads off. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 30 June 2022 The scherzo is an essay in syncopation and section work; strings and winds parry through fleeting arpeggios and transitions in and out of the lilting trio test an orchestra’s ability with unison ritardandi. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 June 2022 His comments came as the president and his aides are struggling to parry Republican attacks linking his economic agenda to rising inflation, including higher gasoline prices, which are helping to drive down his approval ratings. New York Times, 1 Nov. 2021 Clark had to deny Paulo’s power again in the 61st minute, lunging to parry away a similar blast. Caitlin Murray, oregonlive, 29 Aug. 2021 Its answer to the challenge was both predictable and fresh, using its titular format to parry with its rivals’ familiar bun-patty-pickles offerings. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Parry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for parry


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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