Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An ancient Persian unit of distance, usually estimated at 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A historical Iranian unit of itinerant distance used throughout the Western Mediterranean and the Middle East in antiquity. Functionally comparable to the European league, and presumed to have varied between two and four miles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A Persian measure of length, which, according to Herodotus and Xenophon, was thirty stadia, or somewhat more than three and a half miles. The measure varied in different times and places, and, as now used, is estimated at from three and a half to four English miles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Persian measure of length, reckoned by Herodotus at 30 stadia, and thus equivalent to about English miles. At different times and places, however, the parasang has been equivalent to 30, 40, or 60 Greek stadia.

Etymologies

Latin parasanga, from Greek parasangēs, of Iranian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin parasanga, from Ancient Greek παρασάγγης, from unattested Old Persian (indigenously attested only in Middle Iranian onwards); compare Middle Persian 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭭𐭢 (frasang). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Quoth the man, “O my lord, it must be on condition that I go no farther than a parasang; for if I pass that distance by a span, I am a lost man, and thou too.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • And on this wise she held the throne a whole year, during which time she heard no news of her lord, and failed to hit upon his traces, which was exceeding grievous to her; so, when her distress became excessive, she summoned her Wazirs and Chamberlains and bid them fetch architects and builders and make her in front of the palace a horse-course, one parasang long and the like broad.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Persian: “They were on their way from the king to the satrap;” in reply to which the women gave them to understand that the satrap was not at home, but was away a parasang farther on.

    Anabasis

  • [Here are canals, flowing from the river Tigris; they are four in number, each a hundred feet broad, and very deep, with corn ships plying upon them; they empty themselves into the Euphrates, and are at intervals of one parasang apart, and are spanned by bridges.]

    Anabasis

  • The Hellenes, holding them in suspicion, marched separately with the guides, and they encamped on each occasion a parasang apart, or rather less; and both parties kept watch upon each other as if they were enemies, which hardly tended to lull suspicion; and sometimes, whilst foraging for wood and grass and so forth on the same ground, blows were exchanged, which occasioned further embitterments.

    Anabasis

  • The “Burhan i Katia” gives the table thus: — 24 finger breadths (or 6 breadths of the clenched hand, from 20 to 24 inches!) = 1 Gaz or yard; 1000 yards = 1 mile; 3 miles = 1 parasang.

    Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah

  • The building is situated on a high hill, one parasang from the city, and on a tongue of land which the sea surrounds on three sides.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1862

  • Ibn-Haukal, an Arabian traveller of the 10th century, describes Balkh as built of clay, with ramparts and six gates, and extending half a parasang.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy"

  • Well, -- to be Xenophontic, -- from the Race-Course that evening we marched one stadium, one parasang, to a cedar-grove up the road.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 45, July, 1861

  • As if the dice were determined to keep turning up in my favour, I found that the very next village, about one parasang distant, was the one in question, and Abdul Kerim a priest of that name who superintended the interests and collected the revenues of his deceased master.

    The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan

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  • Latin parasanga, from Greek parasanges, of Iranian origin; akin to Persian farsung parasang
    any of various Persian units of distance; especially: an ancient unit of about four miles (six kilometers)

    August 31, 2009