Definitions

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

  • n. A discussion or conference, especially one between enemies over terms of truce or other matters.
  • intransitive v. To have a discussion, especially with an enemy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A conference, especially one between enemies.
  • v. To have a discussion, especially one between enemies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Mutual discourse or conversation; discussion; hence, an oral conference with an enemy, as with regard to a truce.
  • intransitive v. To speak with another; to confer on some point of mutual concern; to discuss orally; hence, specifically, to confer orally with an enemy; to treat with him by words, as on an exchange of prisoners, an armistice, or terms of peace.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To speak; discourse; confer on some point of mutual concern; especially, to confer with an enemy, as on an exchange of prisoners, or on the cessation of hostilities.
  • To argue.
  • To utter; speak.
  • In the United States, in faro and similar games, and in horse-racing, to stake (one's money, together with that won by it on another bet): as, to parley one's bet. See paroli.
  • n. Discourse or conversation; discussion; a conference; specifically, a brief conference with an enemy as under a flag of truce; an informal treating between two hostile parties before or in the course of a contest. Cf. barley.
  • n. Same as parliament, 7.
  • n. The act of leaving as a stake the money staked on a previous bet, together with that won by it. See paroli.

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

  • v. discuss, as between enemies
  • n. a negotiation between enemies

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French parlee, from feminine past participle of parler, to talk, from Vulgar Latin *paraulāre, from Late Latin parabolāre, from parabola, discourse; see parable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French parler ("to talk; to speak"), from Vulgar Latin *paraulare (“to speak”), from Late Latin parabolare, from Latin parabola ("comparison"), from Ancient Greek παραβολή, from παρά ("beside") with βολή ("throwing"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Badr Basim King over them after his sire; and they sware the oath gladly, for the sovran was liberal to the lieges, pleasant in parley and a very compend of goodness, saying naught but that wherein was advantage for the people.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • On the third day of her stay in the city she caused her great white banner to be carried forth before her, and riding a white horse, clad in her silver armour, and clasping her banneret in her hand she rode slowly out upon the broken fragment of the bridge opposite to the tower of Les Tourelles, and begged a parley from the English general in command.

    A Heroine of France

  • Soon it came to the knowledge of the Spaniards that we had enough food and water upon the teocalli to enable us to live there for a month or more, and seeing that there was no hope of capturing the place by force of arms, they called a parley with us.

    Montezuma's Daughter

  • They were very secure, thought themselves strong for war and able to deal with the most powerful enemy (v. 14), and yet the calamity is near, and he is not able to keep it off, nor so much as to keep the enemy long in parley, for the affliction hastens fast (v. 16) and will soon come to a crisis.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • More than 100 economics and trade ministers were attending the parley, which is also featuring several world leaders for Tuesday's

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • She had seen Arthur and delivered her warning, and he had promised to call the parley and let the regent have his say.

    The Wicked Day

  • In his dream Arthur knew that he had accepted her advice; he had called the parley, resolving to listen to anything his son had to say; but still Nimue-Merlin had wept, standing in the boat as it floated away on the glassy Lake and vanished into the mist.

    The Wicked Day

  • May I hope that you will follow me without a further parley, which is embarrassing to me, and quite unhelpful to yourself.

    A Rock in the Baltic

  • I was up yonder, when I saw Brymer and the rest of 'em get together to have what old Frenchy calls a parley, and they hadn't been there long, leaving me wondering what game was up, and what they were going to do about the lads down below, when I see the sky-light opened a bit.

    Sail Ho! A Boy at Sea

  • So Richard Stout and his companions went boldly out, guns in hand, to meet the oncoming savages, and, calling a parley, they declared that they had no intention of resting quietly, and allowing themselves and families to be slaughtered and their houses burned.

    Stories of New Jersey

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  • "The delegates were no more than the studio audience, kicking the show along by cheering and laughing whenever the signal was given; O'Brien was not after all wearing pancake make-up for our benefit. In the fact that almost no significant contender for office appeared in public without cosmetics I found an interesting insight into the methods of political parley."
    - 'The Big Tease', Germaine Greer in Harper's Monthly Magazine, Oct 1972.

    April 13, 2008