• synonyms


[pahr-thee-uh n]
  1. a native or inhabitant of Parthia.
  2. an Iranian language of ancient and medieval Parthia.
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Parthia, its inhabitants, or their language.
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Origin of Parthian

First recorded in 1520–30; Parthi(a) + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for parthians

Historical Examples of parthians

  • He advises Him to seek alliance with the Parthians, and promises his aid.

    Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama

    E. Cobham Brewer

  • Like the Parthians of Greek history it is most dangerous when in retreat.

    Preventable Diseases

    Woods Hutchinson

  • And these were the honors that were paid Izates by the king of the Parthians.

  • The Parthians were deluded by one of these impostors and offered to defend his cause.

  • This palace the Parthians continue to occupy even at this time.

British Dictionary definitions for parthians


  1. of or relating to Parthia, a country in ancient Asia, or its inhabitants
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  1. a native or inhabitant of Parthia
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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 parthians



1520s, native or inhabitant of Parthia (ancient kingdom northeast of Persia in western Asia), from Old Persian Parthava- "Parthian," dialectal variant of the stem Parsa-, source of Persia.

As an adjective, 1580s. Phrase Parthian shot is in reference to their horsemen, who were expert at racing forward, turning, and shooting arrows backward at the moment of retreat. The exact phrase is attested by 1832; the image itself was in use long before (e.g. Parthian fight, 1630s).

Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight ["Cymbeline," Act I, Scene VII]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper