27 March 2006

Today's English Lesson or "Hmm, I didn't know that."

Parthian shot (PAR-thee-uhn shot) noun: A hostile remark made in departing.

[After the natives of Parthia, an ancient country in southwest Asia.]

Parthians were expert archers. Their specialty was firing arrows while in(or pretending to be in) retreat which disrupted the enemy forces. The more descriptive term "parting shot" is a synonym.

Example: "'One other thing, Lestrade,' [Sherlock Holmes] added, turning round at the door: 'Rache,' is the German for 'revenge'; so don't lose your time looking for Miss Rachel.' With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him."

- Arthur Conan Doyle; A Study In Scarlet; 1886.

H/T to Wordsmith Dot Org

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