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

  • noun Early release of a prisoner who is then subject to continued monitoring as well as compliance with certain terms and conditions for a specified period.
  • noun The duration of such conditional release.
  • noun A password used by an officer of the day, an officer on guard, or the personnel commanded by such an officer.
  • noun Word of honor, especially that of a prisoner of war who is granted freedom only after promising not to engage in combat until formally exchanged.
  • noun Linguistics The act of speaking; a particular utterance or word.
  • transitive verb To release (a prisoner) on parole.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To accept a parole from; allow to go about at liberty on parole. See parole, n.
  • noun A word or words; word of mouth; oral utterance or statement; language; text.
  • noun Word of honor given or pledged; solemn promise; plighted faith; specifically, a formal promise or pledge given by a prisoner of war that he will not try to escape if allowed to go about at liberty, or that, if released, he will return to custody at a certain time if not previously discharged, or that he will not bear arms against his captors within a stated period, as during the existing war.
  • noun Milit., a word or words given out every day in orders by a commanding officer, in camp or garrison, by which friends may be distinguished from enemies.
  • noun In law: Oral declarations; word of mouth.
  • noun The pleadings in a suit.
  • Given by word of mouth; oral; not written: opposed to documentary, or given by affidavit: as, parole evidence.
  • Not given or executed under seal: either verbal or written, but without seal: as, a parole contract.

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

  • noun obsolete A word; an oral utterance.
  • noun (Mil.) Word of promise; word of honor; plighted faith
  • noun (Mil.) A watchword given only to officers of guards; -- distinguished from countersign, which is given to all guards.
  • noun (Law) Oral declaration. See 1st Parol, 2.
  • noun The release of a prisoner from confinement prior to the end of the original sentence, conditioned on good behavior and often with other specific conditions, such as not to associate with known criminals. Such early release is common where the sentence provides a minimum and maximum term.
  • noun A document authorizing a parole{5}.
  • adjective See 2d parol.
  • transitive verb (Mil. and Penology) To set at liberty on parole.

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

  • noun The release or state of a former prisoner on the understanding that he/she checks in regularly and obeys the law.
  • noun The amount of time a former prisoner spends on limited release.
  • noun archaic A word of honor, especially given by a prisoner of war, to not engage in combat if released.
  • noun linguistics Language in use, as opposed to language as a system.
  • noun US The permission for foreigner who does not meet the technical requirements for a visa to be allowed to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds.
  • verb transitive To release (a prisoner) on the understanding that s/he checks in regularly and obeys the law.

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

  • verb release a criminal from detention and place him on parole
  • noun a secret word or phrase known only to a restricted group
  • noun (law) a conditional release from imprisonment that entitles the person to serve the remainder of the sentence outside the prison as long as the terms of release are complied with
  • noun a promise


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

[French, promise, word, from Vulgar Latin *paraula, from Latin parabola, discourse; see parable.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French parole ("word, formal promise"), from Late Latin parabola ("speech")



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  • German (and French?) for password.

    January 9, 2008

  • "PAROLE, the promise made by a prisoner of war to return at a time appointed, or not to take up arms; a breach of which, is thought to be infamous, among military men. This term also means a word given out every day in orders, and is used like the countersign, by the officers and non-commissioned officers on guard."

    A pocket dictionary, for military officers, containing a definition of all the tactical terms now in use, with other matter belonging to the art of war, &c. By H.M. Rose, brigade major and inspector in the militia of North Carolina. Raleigh: Printed at the Minerva Press, by Alexander Lucas., 1816.

    October 9, 2008