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verb (used with object), par·ried, par·ry·ing.
  1. to ward off (a thrust, stroke, weapon, etc.), as in fencing; avert.
  2. to turn aside; evade or dodge: to parry an embarrassing question.
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verb (used without object), par·ried, par·ry·ing.
  1. to parry a thrust, blow, etc.
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noun, plural par·ries.
  1. an act or instance of parrying, as in fencing.
  2. a defensive movement in fencing.
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Origin of parry

1665–75; < French parez, imperative of parer to ward off, set off < Latin parāre to set. See parade
Related formspar·ri·a·ble, adjectivepar·ri·er, nounun·par·ried, adjectiveun·par·ry·ing, adjective


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  1. Milman,1902–35, U.S. classical scholar and philologist.
  2. William Edward,1790–1855, English arctic explorer.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

dodge, resist, rebuff, rebuke, fence, repulse, prevent, forestall, avoid, sidestep, anticipate, evade, elude, repel, deflect, bypass, duck, shun, shirk, preclude

Examples from the Web for parry

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She could not parry the question as she had done before, and it probed depths.


    William J. Locke

  • Now this was a home-thrust, George, which I could not parry off.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • It was cut and parry and stab as quick as eye could see or hand act.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • But it would never have occurred to me to parry her queries.

  • And such they were, when the first thrust and parry told that the work had begun.


    Scian Dubh

British Dictionary definitions for parry


verb -ries, -rying or -ried
  1. to ward off (an attack) by blocking or deflecting, as in fencing
  2. (tr) to evade (questions), esp adroitly
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noun plural -ries
  1. an act of parrying, esp (in fencing) using a stroke or circular motion of the blade
  2. a skilful evasion, as of a question
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Word Origin

C17: from French parer to ward off, from Latin parāre to prepare


  1. Sir (Charles) Hubert (Hastings). 1848–1918, English composer, noted esp for his choral works
  2. Sir William Edward. 1790–1855, English arctic explorer, who searched for the Northwest Passage (1819–25) and attempted to reach the North Pole (1827)
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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

Word Origin and History for parry


1630s, from French parez! (which commonly would have been heard in fencing lessons), imperative of parer "ward off," from Italian parare "to ward or defend a blow" (see para- (2)). Related: Parried; parrying. Non-fencing use is from 1718. The noun is 1705, from the verb.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper