Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To deflect or ward off (a fencing thrust, for example).
  • intransitive verb To deflect, evade, or avoid.
  • intransitive verb To deflect or ward off a thrust or blow.
  • noun The deflecting or warding off of a thrust or blow, as in fencing.
  • noun An evasive answer or action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To turn aside; ward off: as, to parry a thrust or a blow, or an inquisitive question.
  • To avoid; evade.
  • To act on the defensive, as in warding off a thrust or an argument; fence.
  • noun A defensive movement in fencing.
  • noun A fencing-bout; hence, a brilliant attack and defense of any kind.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To ward off, evade, or turn aside something, as a blow, argument, etc.
  • noun A warding off of a thrust or blow, as in sword and bayonet exercises or in boxing; hence, figuratively, a defensive movement in debate or other intellectual encounter.
  • transitive verb To ward off; to stop, or to turn aside.
  • transitive verb To avoid; to shift or put off; to evade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A defensive or deflective action; an act of parrying.
  • noun fencing A simple defensive action designed to deflect an attack, performed with the forte of the blade.
  • verb To avoid, deflect, or ward off (an attack).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (fencing) blocking a lunge or deflecting it with a circular motion of the sword
  • verb avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
  • verb impede the movement of (an opponent or a ball)
  • noun a return punch (especially by a boxer)

Etymologies

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

[Probably from French parez, imperative of parer, to defend, from Italian parare, from Latin parāre, to prepare; see perə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From earlier parree, from Middle English *parree, *paree, from Old French paree ("preparation, ceremony, parade"), from Medieval Latin parāta ("preparation, parade"), from Medieval Latin parāre ("to ward off, guard, defend, prepare, get ready"). More at pare. The English verb to parry is taken from the noun.

Examples

  • The nearest thing to a parry is called “cutting off”.

    Quote of the day: "...if you frighten easily, do not learn how to fence."

  • With a swift short sword parry that left his opponent's guard open, the leader withdrew his broadsword from the chest of his enemy.

    The Dragons at War

  • With a swift short sword parry that left his opponent's guard open, the leader withdrew his broadsword from the chest of his enemy.

    The Dragons at War

  • It was one of those mean feminine thrusts to parry which is to acknowledge, to ignore is to admit fear.

    From One Generation to Another

  • He hoped to "parry" the call for a second federal convention to consider amendments proposed by several state ratifying conventions, one of which would have modified Congress's wall-to-wall taxing powers.

    NYT > Home Page

  • When dealing with a tea-bagger, perhaps the most effective tactical maneuver is to "parry" these accusations gently and, if possible, with an affirmative response and then to move on to economic issues.

    ScreenTalk

  • I could focus on my parry instead—on the slash of the foil whistling through the air rather than the painful slash across my heart.

    Haven

  • Anyway, right now I just wanted to eat some lunch, take a nap, and maybe spend an hour or so in the gym, working on my parry.

    Haven

  • I could focus on my parry instead—on the slash of the foil whistling through the air rather than the painful slash across my heart.

    Haven

  • Cat opened her mouth to parry that contention when the coach lurched wildly.

    Earl of Durkness

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