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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

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 The best matches, where the couple parries the joys of domestic life with the task of world domination, are ones in which even the children are drafted into the entourage. Andrew O’Hagan, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 Standing beside his rig along a busy freeway, the big-bearded, ball-cap-wearing Mr. Seppi will grumble about having to drive an automatic instead of manual transmission or some other workplace issue, then parry with followers who leave comments. Steven Kurutz, New York Times, 28 Oct. 2023 The duel itself was action-packed, the two singers parrying lines, trading off and building upon each other’s rivaling verses. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2023 Instead, Anatomy of a Fall delivers a series of thrusts, parries, and other countermoves that chronicles the ways in which even the best of relationships can start to rot from the inside out. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Oct. 2023 The Justice Department and 38 states and territories on Tuesday laid out how Google had systematically wielded its power in online search to cow competitors, as the internet giant fiercely parried back, in the opening of the most consequential trial over tech power in the modern internet era. Cecilia Kang, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 Dana Perino can punch and parry with the best of them. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, 24 Sep. 2023 In the 87th minute, Rodman ripped a cross deep into the box, and Thorns defender Emily Menges parried it away with her foot but appeared to kick it off her own hand in the process. oregonlive, 27 Aug. 2023 Senate candidates whose struggles to parry a withering G.O.P. onslaught could sink their candidacies and cost Democrats control of the chamber. Reid J. Epstein, New York Times, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1671, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of parry was in 1671


Dictionary Entries Near parry

Cite this Entry

“Parry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


par·​ry ˈpar-ē How to pronounce parry (audio)
parried; parrying
: to turn aside skillfully : deflect
parry a blow
: evade sense 1
parry an embarrassing question
parry noun

More from Merriam-Webster on parry

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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