thrust and parry

thrust and parry

To engage in a verbal duel with someone, in which both parties continuously exchange arguments, quips, and retorts. An allusion to the movements of sword fighting, especially fencing. They got into some heated debate about whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better. They've been thrusting and parrying like that for the last hour. The two political opponents thrusted and parried very skillfully in the debate last night, with many agreeing that there had been no clear winner.
See also: and, thrust
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

thrust and parry

Fig. to enter into verbal combat [with someone]; to compete actively [with someone]. (Fig. on the sport of fencing.) I spent the entire afternoon thrusting and parrying with a committee of so-called experts in the field of insurance. I do not intend to stand here and thrust and parry with you over a simple matter like this. Let's get someone else's opinion.
See also: and, thrust
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
During the years he had served as master of fence at the English Court the sons of royalty had learned to thrust and parry and cut as only De Vac could teach the art; and he had been as conscientious in the discharge of his duties as he had been in his unswerving hatred and contempt for his pupils.
But if Chelsea thrust and parry in the same high-pressure, space-denying manner as they did last week, they will create anxieties in the stands which could spill down to the pitch and fragment Arsenal's rhythm and confidence.
Asked whether the sloped glass-and-steel facade, with its pantomimed thrust and parry of aspiration and collapse, is a play on the great tradition of allusions to rising and falling in Art Deco skyscrapers (the fountainlike buildings of Rockefeller Center are just around the corner), Abraham protests: "It is in the great tradition of the guillotine."
The bar particularly, he says, became `a place of thrust and parry' where they would mug up Bible texts to trip him up or query the effects of his new beliefs on his soldiering.