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[pahr-lee] /ˈpɑr li/
noun, plural parleys.
a discussion or conference.
an informal conference between enemies under a truce, especially to discuss terms, conditions of surrender, etc.
verb (used without object), parleyed, parleying.
to hold an informal conference with an enemy under a truce, as between active hostilities.
to speak, talk, or confer.
Origin of parley
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English parlai < Middle French parlee, noun use of feminine of parle, past participle of parler to parle
Related forms
parleyer, noun
1. talk, conversation. 4. discuss, converse.


[pahr-lee] /ˈpɑr li/
Peter, pen name of Samuel Griswald Goodrich. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for parley
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "It is a cold day for the parley voos," laughed Big Mack Cameron.

    The Man From Glengarry Ralph Connor
  • To begin with, Mrs Merdle is the lady you had the parley with at what's-his-name place.'

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • The parley had already occupied twenty minutes, when Dr. Grey cut it short by mounting the narrow, winding steps.

    Vashti Augusta J. Evans Wilson
  • Don't you be listening to a woman's parley, for it's all nonsense.

    The House Under the Sea Sir Max Pemberton
  • Cambronne wished to parley with them, but they would not listen to him.

  • There can be no parley, no compromise with the evil thing for which Germany fights.

    England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
  • Well, after parley, he said he would put me on the flagship, and if I did well he would promote me.

    Real Soldiers of Fortune Richard Harding Davis
  • I may want to parley, and any other messenger from Ruiz, the outlaw, would have his throat cut.'

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • I then picked up a book and held it before me to signify that the parley was at an end.

    Our Elizabeth Florence A. Kilpatrick
British Dictionary definitions for parley


a discussion, esp between enemies under a truce to decide terms of surrender, etc
(intransitive) to discuss, esp with an enemy under a truce
(transitive) to speak (a foreign language)
Derived Forms
parleyer, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French, from parler to talk, from Medieval Latin parabolāre, from Late Latin parabola speech, parable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parley

"conference, speech," especially with an enemy, mid-15c., from Middle French parlée, from fem. past participle of Old French parler "to speak" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *paraulare, from Late Latin parabolare "to speak (in parables)," from parabola "speech, discourse," from Latin parabola "comparison" (see parable).


late 14c., "to speak, talk, confer," probably a separate borrowing of Old French parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)). Related: Parleyed; parleying. Meaning "to discuss terms" is 1560s, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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