Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
March 31st, 2016
Episode 490 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 31, 2016 is: parry \PAIR-ee\ verb 1 : to ward off a weapon or blow 2 : to evade especially by an adroit answer Examples: The fencer skillfully parried her opponent's thrusts. "The AMP [Accelerated Mobile Pages] technology … indirectly parries one of the main threats facing digital ad companies—the growing use of ad-blocking software in response to slow, buggy, and hard-to-use Web pages—by stopping ads from slowing down access to articles." — Jack Clark and Gerry Smith, The Boston Globe, 25 Feb. 2016 Did you know? Parry (which is used in fencing, among other applications) probably comes from parez, a form of the French verb parer, meaning "to guard or ward off." Its history can be compared with that of two other English words: parapet and parasol. Those two terms go back to an Italian word (parare) that means "to shield or guard." (A parapet shields soldiers and a parasol wards off the sun.) All three—parry, parapet, and parasol—can ultimately be traced to the Latin parare, meaning "to prepare." And they're not alone. Other descendants of the Latin term include apparatus, disparate, emperor, and even prepare.