from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n.pl. Roman Mythology The Fates.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n.pl. The Fates. See fate, 4.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The Latin name of the Fates.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of the three Roman goddesses of fate or destiny; identified with the Greek Moirai and similar to the Norse Norns
As for Mr. Johnson, he had held the weapon of the most relentless of the 'Parcae' so long that his suddenly clipping the thread of a foreign minister's tenure of office in a fit of jealous anger is not at all surprising.
"You think right, suh, an 'I daresay you are familiar with the classical names we three have adopted, bein' those of the Parcae - Lachesis, Clotho, an 'myself, Atropos - tho' I hope to convince you that those of the Eumenides would have been more fittin '."
The Parcae spin, measure and cut off the thread; one of them must keep nervously or playfully messing with the thread so there's a risk it'll tear, which causes the poet some discomfort.
We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion.
In a word, these three Parcae with their white or blue or red locks had spun the fatal threads of an incalculable number of gentlemen.
But those that love to hold it at a higher rate, and prize it according to its value, for their own greater profit do the very same which is told us of the recreation of the three fatal sister Parcae, or of the nocturnal exercise of the noble Circe, or yet of the excuse which Penelope made to her fond wooing youngsters and effeminate courtiers during the long absence of her husband Ulysses.
_Parcae_, were three in number, and were variously conceived as goddesses of birth or of death; the elements of the primitive idea are, at least, comprised in the conception that they allotted man his fate; we may also note that the metaphor of _spinning_ was used in connection with their duties.
Which not long should abide, so presag'd surely the Parcae, (85)
Busy began that chant which speaketh surely the Parcae.
Oh! oh! venerable Parcae, what fresh attack is this?