Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to poetry.
  • n. A member of a school of late 19th-century French poets whose work is characterized by detachment and emphasis on metrical form.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to Parnassus.
  • n. Any one of numerous species of butterflies belonging to the genus Parnassius. They inhabit the mountains, both in the Old World and in America.
  • n. One of a school of French poets of the Second Empire (1852-70) who emphasized metrical form and made little use of emotion as poetic material; -- so called from the name (Parnasse contemporain) of the volume in which their first poems were collected in 1866.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to Mount Parnassus, or to poetry and the Muses, to whom, with Apollo, this region was sacred.
  • [lowercase] Resembling or related to the genus Parnassius; belonging to the Parnassiinæ.
  • n. A member of the genus Parnassius or the subfamily Parnassiinæ; an Apollo butterfly.
  • In England, see the extract.
  • n. A member of the Parnassian school.

Etymologies

From Latin Parnassius, of Parnassus, from Greek parnāsios, after Parnāsos (Parnassus), a mountain in Greece sacred to Apollo and the Muses. N., from French parnassien, after Le Parnasse contemporain, the group's first anthology of poetry (1866), from Parnasse, Parnassus, from Latin Parnassus, from Greek Parnāsos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • At the core of his quest are these rarities — the Eversmann 's Parnassian he sought along the Dalton Highway, for instance, and the Bartram' s Hairstreak he finds on Big Pine Key in Florida.

    Butterfly Quest

  • Never less than competent but seldom more than terminally dull, it is probably the kind of overworked, underinspired landfill Hopkins had in mind when he used the term ‘Parnassian.’

    I’m Okay, I’m Just Floundering : Kwame Dawes : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • In 1917 he published his first collection of poetry, A cinza das horas The Ashes of the Hours, poetry influenced in style by the Parnassian symbolists.

    Manuel Banderia

  • It was Cavafy's reading in these two historians that led him to reject his earlier, rather facile use of history as merely the vehicle for bejeweled verses in the Parnassian mode on "Ancient Days" (one of the thematic headings into which he'd group his poems: others were "The Beginnings of Christianity," "Passions," and "Prisons"), and inspired him to try to combine history and poetry in a more intellectually and aesthetically serious way.

    'As Good as Great Poetry Gets'

  • The Parnassian movement of the 1860s and 1870s, in particular, with its eager response to Théophile Gautier's call for an "Art for Art's sake," its insistence on elevating polished form over earnest subjective, social, and political content, and particularly its invitation to a return to the milieus and models of the antique Mediterranean past, had special appeal.

    'As Good as Great Poetry Gets'

  • We have to find a way to make people accept that working for food, even if it's Beluga, does not invalidate one's Parnassian credentials, that writers deserve luxuries, too.

    Will Write for Merlot: The N.Y. Curse

  • And massive blocks of Parnassian rocks, is that things honest and pure to say?

    The Frogs

  • Parnassian heights when you, through your insolence, sent them toppling to earth, where they fell face and belly down in the mire of normality.

    Dario Fo - Nobel Lecture

  • Each part can be fully understood only as a fragment of a whole: not only does Poetry, personified by the Parnassian Apollo, combine with Theology, Law, and Philosophy to make up the sum of human learning; the Elements, too, are symbolized by episodes arranged in four pairs, where

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • Bacchus, who, inhabiting the Parnassian rock, sparklest with torches, conspicuous among the Delphic Bacchanals!

    Clouds

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