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[pahr-nas-ee-uh n]
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  1. pertaining to Mount Parnassus.
  2. pertaining to poetry.
  3. of, relating to, or noting a school of French poets of the latter half of the 19th century, characterized chiefly by a belief in art for art's sake, by an emphasis on metrical form, and by the repression of emotive elements: so called from Le Parnasse Contemporain, the title of their first collection of poems, published in 1866.
  1. a member of the Parnassian school of French poets.

Origin of Parnassian

1635–45; < Latin Parnassi(us) of Parnassus + -an
Related formsPar·nas·si·an·ism, Par·nas·sism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for parnassian

Historical Examples

  • But his fiction leaves me cold, as Parnassian poetry did others, but not me.

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

    George Saintsbury

  • Barrs imbibed from the Parnassian poetic group his artistic remoteness.


    James Huneker

  • It is a Parnassian Samain, but always personal, even in grandiloquence.

    The Book of Masks

    Remy de Gourmont

  • I did an injustice to Parnassian in my answer to him last week.

  • In his first two books he had been a realist and a Parnassian.

British Dictionary definitions for parnassian


  1. of or relating to Mount Parnassus or poetry


  1. one of a school of French poets of the late 19th century who wrote verse that emphasized metrical form and restricted emotion
  1. of or relating to the Parnassians or their poetry
Derived FormsParnassianism or Parnassism, noun

Word Origin

C19: from French parnassien, from Parnasse Parnassus; from Le Parnasse contemporain, title of an anthology produced by these poets
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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