verb par·ry \ ˈper-ē , ˈpa-rē \
|Updated on: 3 Aug 2018

Definition of parry

parried; parrying
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
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



parry was our Word of the Day on 03/31/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of parry in a Sentence

  1. He parried the thrust of his opponent's sword.

  2. He parried and then threw a punch.

  3. She cleverly parried the reporters' questions.

Recent Examples of parry from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

PARRY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of parry for English Language Learners

  • : 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

PARRY Defined for Kids



verb par·ry \ ˈper-ē \

Definition of parry for Students

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




Definition of parry for Students

plural parries
: an act or instance of skillfully avoiding something

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