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adjective par·al·lel \ˈper-ə-ˌlel, ˈpa-rə-, -ləl\

Simple Definition of parallel

  • : very similar and often happening at the same time

  • computers : designed for a computer system in which very small pieces of information are sent over separate wires at the same time

Full Definition of parallel

  1. 1 a :  extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting <parallel rows of trees> b :  everywhere equally distant <concentric spheres are parallel>

  2. 2 a :  having parallel sides <a parallel reamer> b :  being or relating to an electrical circuit having a number of conductors in parallel c :  arranged in parallel <a parallel processor> d :  relating to or being a connection in a computer system in which the bits of a byte are transmitted over separate channels at the same time <a parallel port> — compare serial

  3. 3 a (1) :  similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development (2) :  exhibiting parallelism in form, function, or development <parallel evolution> b :  readily compared :  companion c :  having identical syntactical elements in corresponding positions; also :  being such an element d (1) :  having the same tonic —used of major and minor keys and scales (2) :  keeping the same distance apart in musical pitch

  4. 4 :  performed while keeping one's skis parallel <parallel turns>

Examples of parallel

  1. the parallel careers of the two movie stars

  2. These two sentences are parallel in structure.

  3. Notice the parallel development of the two technologies.

Origin of parallel

Latin parallelus, from Greek parallēlos, from para beside + allēlōn of one another, from allos … allos one … another, from allos other — more at else

First Known Use: 1549

Synonym Discussion of parallel

similar, analogous, parallel mean closely resembling each other. similar implies the possibility of being mistaken for each other <all the houses in the development are similar>. analogous applies to things belonging in essentially different categories but nevertheless having many similarities <analogous political systems>. parallel suggests a marked likeness in the development of two things <the parallel careers of two movie stars>.

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms



noun par·al·lel

Simple Definition of parallel

  • : a way in which things are similar : a shared quality or characteristic

  • : something that is equal or similar

  • : any one of the imaginary circles on the surface of the Earth that are parallel to the equator and that are shown as lines on maps

Full Definition of parallel

  1. 1 a :  a parallel line, curve, or surface b :  one of the imaginary circles on the surface of the earth paralleling the equator and marking the latitude; also :  the corresponding line on a globe or map — see latitude illustration c :  a character ∥ used in printing especially as a reference mark

  2. 2 a :  something equal or similar in all essential particulars :  counterpart b :  similarity, analogue

  3. 3 :  a comparison to show resemblance

  4. 4 a :  the state of being physically parallel b :  an arrangement of electrical devices in a circuit in which the same potential difference is applied to two or more resistances with each resistance being on a different branch of the circuit — compare series c :  an arrangement or state that permits several operations or tasks to be performed simultaneously rather than consecutively

in parallel
  1. :  in a parallel arrangement

Examples of parallel

  1. These myths have some striking parallels with myths found in cultures around the world.

  2. There are many parallels between the stories.

  3. Most of the United States is south of the 49th parallel.


First Known Use of parallel




verb par·al·lel

Simple Definition of parallel

  • : to be similar or equal to (something)

  • : to happen at the same time as (something) and in a way that is related or connected

  • : to be parallel to (something) : to go or extend in the same direction as (something)

Full Definition of parallel

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to indicate analogy of :  compare

  3. 2 a :  to show something equal to :  match b :  to correspond to

  4. 3 :  to place so as to be parallel in direction with something

  5. 4 :  to extend, run, or move in a direction parallel to

Examples of parallel

  1. Their test results parallel our own.

  2. Rising prices parallel increasing fuel costs.

  3. Spending is paralleled by an increase in the number of loans given.

  4. The highway parallels the river.


First Known Use of parallel




adverb par·al·lel

Definition of parallel

  1. :  in a parallel manner

Circa 1747

First Known Use of parallel

circa 1747

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

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February 11, 2016

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