Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as parliament, 7.
  • noun The act of leaving as a stake the money staked on a previous bet, together with that won by it. See paroli.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb 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.
  • noun Mutual discourse or conversation; discussion; hence, an oral conference with an enemy, as with regard to a truce.
  • noun (Mil.) to beat a drum, or sound a trumpet, as a signal for holding a conference with the enemy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A conference, especially one between enemies.
  • verb intransitive To have a discussion, especially one between enemies.

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

  • verb discuss, as between enemies
  • noun a negotiation between enemies

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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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 2006

  • 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 Everett-Green, Evelyn 1906

  • 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 Evelyn Everett-Green 1894

  • 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 Henry Rider Haggard 1890

  • 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) 1721

  • 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 1998

  • 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 Stewart, Mary, 1916- 1983

  • 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 Stewart, Mary, 1916- 1983

  • 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 Robert Barr 1881

  • 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 George Manville Fenn 1870

Comments

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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