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 politically astute Pence would be ready to parry Warren’s attacks in a way that Mike Bloomberg wasn’t, leaving Warren looking petty and small. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "Warren Would Be a Bad VP Pick for Biden," 5 May 2020 But attempts to parry them have only illustrated their reach. Anchorage Daily News, "As Trump signals willingness to break with experts, his base assails Fauci," 27 Mar. 2020 When confronted by friends terrorized by the promise of tomorrow, June parried with an optimism that beat them back into the refuge of hope. Fiona Maazel, Harper's Magazine, "I Incriminate Myself So No One Else Can," 27 Apr. 2020 The doctors and the nurses had all been attentive, kind and erudite, parrying my uninformed questions and circling me for nonstop care. Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "When an emergency room suspected I had coronavirus, things got serious fast," 8 Mar. 2020 Shea, who comes from a family of law enforcement officers, took over the office in early February, aware that Barr and the Justice Department had been parrying demands from the president to prosecute his enemies. Adam Goldman,, "Prosecutors’ tensions with Justice Dept. began long before Stone sentencing," 23 Feb. 2020 Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Beijing expels three Wall Street Journal journalists," 19 Feb. 2020 Comely young women are hustled into the office for private meetings, and Jane is charged with parrying the phone calls of the boss’s persistent wife. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "The Assistant Looks at the Woman Behind a Bad Man," 31 Jan. 2020 Connolly's first was all about instincts, reacting first to the loose ball after Paulo Gazzaniga parried his initial effort, whilst his second was Serge Gnabry-esque., "Fantasy Premier League: The Dream Team From Gameweek 8," 8 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for parry

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The first known use of parry was in 1671

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for parry


How to pronounce parry (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on parry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parry

Spanish Central: Translation of parry

Nglish: Translation of parry for Spanish Speakers

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