1630s, "to turn aside or ward off" the blow of a weapon (transitive), from French parez! (a word which would have been heard often 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, "an act of warding off or turning aside," is by 1705, from the verb.