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.

verb (used without object), par·ried, par·ry·ing.

  1. to parry a thrust, blow, etc.

noun, plural par·ries.

  1. an act or instance of parrying, as in fencing.
  2. a defensive movement in fencing.

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

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


  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)

v.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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