Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To bet (an original wager and its winnings) on a subsequent event.
  • transitive v. To maneuver (an asset) to great advantage: parlayed some small investments into a large fortune.
  • n. A bet comprising the sum of a prior wager plus its winnings or a series of bets made in such a manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To carry forward the stake and winnings from a bet onto a subsequent wager.
  • v. To increase.
  • v. To speak about peace. To have peace talks. See also: pow-wow.
  • v. To convert into something better
  • n. Such a bet or series of bets.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of betting the winnings from a prior bet, plus the original stake, on a subsequent bet; the second or later such bet in a series; also, a series of such bets, with the stakes for later bets coming from the winnings of earlier bets.
  • transitive v. To wager the winnings plus the initial stake of one bet on a subsequent wager, or to engage in a series of such increased wagers.
  • transitive v. To exploit success in one endeavor so as to achieve greater success in subsequent endeavors.
  • transitive v. Fig., to transform a gain into something of greater value.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See parley.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. stake winnings from one bet on a subsequent wager
  • n. a series of wagers in which the winnings from one wager are used as a stake for the subsequent wagers

Etymologies

Alteration of paroli, staking of double the sum staked before in faro, from French, from obsolete Italian, probably from Italian parare, to place a bet, from Latin parāre, to prepare; see pare.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined ca. 1828 as a verb, used as a noun ca. 1904. From French parler ("speak"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • All of the individual bets must win, so a parlay is an all-or-nothing wager.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • A parlay is a single wager that links together several individual bets.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • So while the odds of hitting a parlay are smaller than winning a single bet, the payout for a winning parlay is much larger.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Delaware can only offer betting on at least three NFL games per wager, called parlay bets.

    CourierPostOnline.com - News

  • My guess is that the director intends to "parlay" this film into a feature, which will probably be sort of a "hipster" version of "Castaway."

    Living in a World of Fools: How Deep is your Ride

  • I can only imagine what kind of parlay I might have gotten in Vegas -- back when the Pats were 2-2 and had just lost to the woeful Redskins, and the LSU Tigers had been spanked by Florida -- picking LSU to win the national championship and the Pats to win the Super Bowl.

    Starr Gazing: Owning the Season

  • I think I will add "parlay" to my Beavis and Butthead word list.

    Review: Call of Duty

  • Well, it looks like somebody decided to "parlay" that short story into some movie bucks using some really blockbuster talent.

    Paycheck

  • If you're the gambling type, you may already know that "parlay" can also be used as a noun describing a series of bets in which a person places a bet, then puts the original stake of money and all of its winnings on new wagers.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • Just last week, 19-year-old YouTube sensation Chris Crocker - you know, the kid behind that "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE" clip (below; clip contains some NSFW language) - was telling EW's Tim Stack that he was hoping to score his own reality show soon: "'I'm trying to kind of parlay this into a ticket out of here."

    Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

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