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[pahr-ler] /ˈpɑr lər/
noun, adjective, Chiefly British
Usage note
See -or1.


or (especially British) parlour

[pahr-ler] /ˈpɑr lər/
Older Use. a room for the reception and entertainment of visitors to one's home; living room.
a room, apartment, or building serving as a place of business for certain businesses or professions:
funeral parlor; beauty parlor.
a somewhat private room in a hotel, club, or the like for relaxation, conversation, etc.; lounge.
Also called locutorium. a room in a monastery or the like where the inhabitants may converse with visitors or with each other.
advocating something, as a political view or doctrine, at a safe remove from actual involvement in or commitment to action:
parlor leftism; parlor pink.
Origin of parlor
1175-1225; Middle English parlur < Anglo-French; Old French parleor, equivalent to parl(er) to speak (see parle) + -eor -or2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for parlour
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They have the air of ornaments on a cottager's parlour mantelpiece.'

  • As soon as I was tolerably composed I returned to the parlour.

    Lady Susan Jane Austen
  • But to-day, when he walked into our parlour, he was in anything but a good temper.

    The Forest Farm Peter Rosegger
  • He stood still in the middle of the parlour, and looked into the kitchen in silence.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • She cautiously entered the parlour on the left hand of the front door: all was safe.

    The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds
  • But once enticed into the parlour he did not reject the food set before him.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Having accomplished this little matter, and relieved her feelings, she returned to the parlour.

    The Young Trawler R.M. Ballantyne
  • This done, she went into the parlour on her way to the kitchen.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • As she opened the door of the parlour, Mrs. Costello half rose from the sofa, where she was lying.

    A Canadian Heroine, Volume 1 Mrs. Harry Coghill
British Dictionary definitions for parlour


(old-fashioned) a living room, esp one kept tidy for the reception of visitors
a reception room in a priest's house, convent, etc
a small room for guests away from the public rooms in an inn, club, etc
(mainly US & Canadian, NZ) a room or shop equipped as a place of business: a billiard parlor
(Caribbean) a small shop, esp one selling cakes and nonalcoholic drinks
Also called milking parlour. a building equipped for the milking of cows
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman parlur, from Old French parleur room in convent for receiving guests, from parler to speak; see parley
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 parlour

chiefly British English spelling of parlor (q.v.).



c.1200, parlur, "window through which confessions were made," also "apartment in a monastery for conversations with outside persons;" from Old French parleor "courtroom, judgment hall, auditorium" (12c., Modern French parloir), from parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)).

Sense of "sitting room for private conversation" is late 14c.; that of "show room for a business" (e.g. ice cream parlor) first recorded 1884. As an adjective, "advocating radical views from a position of comfort," 1910.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for parlour


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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parlour in the Bible

(from the Fr. parler, "to speak") denotes an "audience chamber," but that is not the import of the Hebrew word so rendered. It corresponds to what the Turks call a kiosk, as in Judg. 3:20 (the "summer parlour"), or as in the margin of the Revised Version ("the upper chamber of cooling"), a small room built on the roof of the house, with open windows to catch the breeze, and having a door communicating with the outside by which persons seeking an audience may be admitted. While Eglon was resting in such a parlour, Ehud, under pretence of having a message from God to him, was admitted into his presence, and murderously plunged his dagger into his body (21, 22). The "inner parlours" in 1 Chr. 28:11 were the small rooms or chambers which Solomon built all round two sides and one end of the temple (1 Kings 6:5), "side chambers;" or they may have been, as some think, the porch and the holy place. In 1 Sam. 9:22 the Revised Version reads "guest chamber," a chamber at the high place specially used for sacrificial feasts.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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