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Military trench schematic, showing parapet, parados etc
Parados functioning within a fortification to defilade an enemy in a commanding position


Borrowed from French parados; in turn the French derived from Italian para, defence, cognate with English parry, plus French dos cognate with Latin dorsum: the back, i.e. the dorsal aspect. Parados is unrelated to parodos either in etymology or in meaning.



parados (plural parados or paradoses)

  1. (military) Generally a screen or embankment to protect the rear of a position from enemy attack, from bomb splinters from behind, from enemy fire from a commanding height, or fire from flanking positions. In common English usage since World War II, the term "parados", particularly in trench warfare, has largely been discarded in favour of "rear parapet", which, etymologically speaking, is a contradiction in terms. In some contexts the term "rear traverse" is preferred, but no usage is exclusive.
    In fortifications that were enfiladed by enemy in positions commanding the fort, an internal parados could defilade the enemy, serving as physical protection and blindage. Usages of the term have varied inconsistently according to times and sources. Some sources use parados as a synonym for a traverse; some other sources represent parados as a special class of traverse and not necessarily at the back of any particular position.
    In trench warfare parados referred to a bank of earth or similar material behind the rear of the trench, opposite the parapet, affording protection from explosions and fragments when shells or bombs overshot the trench.
    • 1810, Charles James, A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary[1], T. Egerton, pages 87–: elevation of earth which is effected behind fortified places, to secure them from any attack that may be made in reverse. Parapet and parados come from terms signifying in the front or in the rear of anything.
    • 1853, anonymous, Aide-mémoire to the Military Sciences: Framed from Contributions of Officers of the Different Services[2]:
      Although a parados takes up so much room, yet it may be turned to good account in the formation of blindages.
    • 1888, Charles Booth Brackenbury, Field Works: Their Technical Construction and Tactical Application:
      In an enclosed work the interior can seldom be sufficiently covered from the enemy’s fire by the parapet, and it becomes necessary to build traverses or parados or both. The parados is only a large traverse built inside the work to cover the defenders who stand on the faces or flanks furthest removed from the enemy’s fire
    • 1929, Frederic Manning, The Middle Parts of Fortune[3], →ISBN:
      He stood up on the step; and then they both swerved, ducking quickly as something ripped up the air between them, flicked a stone from the parados, and sang, like the vibration of a tense wire, into the air behind them.
    • 2005, Gordon L. Rottman, US World War II and Korean War Field Fortifications 1941–53[4], →ISBN:
      The 1940 manual viewed the foxhole too as a hasty position, a simple one-man hole about 3 feet in diameter at the top and 2 feet at the bottom dug suitably deep for crouching, kneeling, or standing. Earth was thrown to the front (parapet) and rear (parados) in crescents. (The term "parados" fell from use in World War II being replaced by "rear parapet".)

Usage notes[edit]





  1. masculine plural of parado



  1. masculine plural past participle of parar