parallel

adjective
par·​al·​lel | \ ˈper-ə-ˌlel How to pronounce parallel (audio) , ˈpa-rə-, -ləl\

Definition of parallel

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant (see equidistant sense 1), and not meeting parallel rows of trees
b : everywhere equally distant concentric spheres are parallel
2a : having parallel sides a parallel reamer
b : being or relating to an electrical circuit having a number of conductors (see conductor sense d(1)) in parallel (see parallel entry 2 sense 4b)
c : arranged in parallel a computer with four parallel processors
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
3a(1) : similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development
(2) : exhibiting parallelism in form, function, or development parallel evolution
b : readily compared : companion the marriage rate turned upward … the birth rate entered upon a parallel climb— Oscar Handlin
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 (see pitch entry 4 sense 4b(1))
4 : performed while keeping one's skis parallel parallel turns

parallel

noun

Definition of parallel (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : 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
2a : something equal or similar in all essential particulars : counterpart
3 : a comparison to show resemblance
4a : 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
: in a parallel arrangement

parallel

verb
paralleled; paralleling; parallels

Definition of parallel (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to indicate analogy of : compare
2a : to show something equal to : match
b : to correspond to
3 : to place so as to be parallel in direction with something
4 : to extend, run, or move in a direction parallel to

parallel

adverb

Definition of parallel (Entry 4 of 4)

: in a parallel manner

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Choose the Right Synonym for parallel

Adjective

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

Examples of parallel in a Sentence

Adjective

the parallel careers of the two movie stars These two sentences are parallel in structure. Notice the parallel development of the two technologies.

Noun

These myths have some striking parallels with myths found in cultures around the world. There are many parallels between the stories. Most of the United States is south of the 49th parallel.

Verb

Their test results parallel our own. Rising prices parallel increasing fuel costs. Spending is paralleled by an increase in the number of loans given. The highway parallels the river.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Bend both knees until your left quad and right shin are parallel to the floor, your torso leaning slightly forward so your back is flat. Amy Marturana, SELF, "8 Strength Exercises All Beginners Should Learn How to Do," 2 May 2019 Begin by holding it parallel to the ground with another person, and fold the lower stripes lengthwise over the Union, keeping the edges of the flag crisp and straight. Fold it lengthwise again, keeping the blue Union on the outside. Rebecca Deczynski, Good Housekeeping, "The Proper Etiquette for Flying the American Flag, Including on Memorial Day," 10 May 2019 With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, push your butt back, and bend your knees slightly, so that your back is no lower than parallel to the floor. Amy Marturana, SELF, "8 Strength Exercises All Beginners Should Learn How to Do," 2 May 2019 The escalation grew parallel to the #MeToo movement — initially, actors like Jeffrey Tambor and Kevin Spacey were forced to quit, fired from existing projects, or replaced during reshoots. Graeme Mcmillan, The Verge, "What James Gunn’s firing says about the rising stakes of social media," 1 Aug. 2018 Unlike classic cross-country, where the skis stay parallel, skate technique involves pushing out to the side with the skis. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "A Winter Workout With Only Moonlight to Guide Him," 22 Dec. 2018 Walk laterally in one direction for five counts, keeping your feet parallel, knees slightly bent, and weight on your heels. Sara Angle, Outside Online, "The Best Glutes Exercises," 19 June 2018 With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, push your butt back, and bend your knees slightly, so that your back is no lower than parallel to the floor. SELF, "Plank and Twist Strength Workout," 28 Apr. 2019 Previously, Intel had released just some of the technical details of the architecture, such as the number of instructions Sunny Cove could execute in parallel (five), and some very basic performance comparisons to prior generations. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel reveals its 10nm Ice Lake Core and stacked Lakefield CPUs, and 'Project Athena' for laptops," 7 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Almost immediately, fans began drawing the parallels between Rebecca's situation and Randall's. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are Enraged With Rebecca After Last Night’s New Episode," 13 Feb. 2019 The White House was attempting to draw a parallel between its meetings with foreigners and the DNC’s via Chalupa. Murray Waas, Vox, "Exclusive: Paul Manafort advised White House on how to attack and discredit investigation of President Trump," 14 Dec. 2018 O’Connor’s resignation is a better parallel to Kennedy’s, according to some attorneys and legal academics, among them David Lat, founder of the legal website Above the Law. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "The Supreme Court has faced momentous resignations. Experts say Kennedy’s is unrivaled.," 29 June 2018 The attempt to draw a parallel between Gaza's suffering and the Holocaust was bound to draw angry reactions. Fares Akram, chicagotribune.com, "Israeli troops wound hundreds of Palestinians in latest protest at Gaza border," 8 June 2018 That is a direct parallel to Eric Bischoff in WCW, and the story of Dusty losing his job with Crockett Promotions and Turner Broadcasting is the exact same thing that happened with Eric. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "The Week in Wrestling: Why Brock Lesnar’s Absence Is Such a Big Problem for Raw," 6 June 2018 Carson shrewdly played on the public’s growing unease, drawing a parallel between overused chemicals and nuclear fallout. BostonGlobe.com, "Biographies highlight some key figures in environmentalism," 27 Apr. 2018 There’s a parallel between Ephron and Parker in that sense. Natalie Daher, Longreads, "Sharp Women Writers: An Interview With Michelle Dean," 4 Apr. 2018 There’s a parallel between the environment and privacy. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "It’s Time to Regulate the Internet," 21 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Based in New York, Wu is best known for his ability to blur the lines between classic sportswear and elevated couture—a practice of indulgence and restraint that parallels the art of mid-century modern. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Best Room Wins," 30 May 2019 Trying to find the easy, simple past period that parallels our own is futile and frequently misguided. Zachary Karabell, WSJ, "The Trouble With Hitler Analogies," 30 Nov. 2018 In 2006, the couple traced Muir’s route, walking across their home state on a journey closely paralleled to that of California’s first conservationist and the founder of the Sierra Club. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "They followed Muir's footsteps across California, then found his words to describe it | The Sacramento Bee," 1 Apr. 2018 This perfectly parallels the old German story, where the witch's house is constructed out of cookies, candy, chocolate, and more to entice Hansel and Gretel. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The 'It Chapter 2' Trailer Has So Many Hidden Easter Eggs," 10 May 2019 The increase in suicide attempts parallels a rise in Texas prisoners being diagnosed with mental health conditions, despite the overall prison population being on a decline. Jake Bleiberg, The Seattle Times, "Rise in suicide attempts in Texas prisons alarms advocates," 12 Apr. 2019 His stint at Chloé paralleled the rise of designers from backroom workmen to stars worthy of the spotlight. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Legendary Designer Karl Lagerfeld Has Died," 19 Feb. 2019 The idea parallels the notion of vigil-keeping and waiting for the light to dispel the darkness, says Morrill. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Holy Saturday, the Day Before Easter, and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 1 Mar. 2019 Highways parallel the Priest River along part of the 65 miles from Priest Lake to Pend Oreille River. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Let your upper arm go parallel to the ground before returning to the starting position. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Try these 5 workouts for a better bust line," 16 Aug. 2017 Power generated at the San Vicente facility could be delivered via electrical lines parallel and interconnected to San Diego Gas & Electric’s Sunrise Power Link. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Pump it up: Water officials looking for offers to build a hydro storage plant at the San Vicente Reservoir," 31 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parallel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of parallel

Adjective

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1646, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parallel

Adjective, Noun, Verb, and Adverb

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

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Statistics for parallel

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parallel

The first known use of parallel was in 1550

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More Definitions for parallel

parallel

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of parallel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

parallel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of parallel (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

parallel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of parallel (Entry 3 of 3)

: 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)

parallel

adjective
par·​al·​lel | \ ˈper-ə-ˌlel How to pronounce parallel (audio) \

Kids Definition of parallel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: lying or moving in the same direction but always the same distance apart parallel lines Train tracks are parallel.

parallel

noun

Kids Definition of parallel (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a line or surface that lies at or moves in the same direction as another but is always the same distance from it
2 : one of the imaginary circles on the earth's surface running in the same direction as the equator and marking latitude
3 : a way in which things are similar The parallel between their lives is obvious.
4 : equal entry 3 It is a masterpiece without parallel.

parallel

verb
paralleled; paralleling

Kids Definition of parallel (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to move, run, or extend in the same direction with but always at the same distance from A road parallels the river.
2 : to be similar or equal to

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More from Merriam-Webster on parallel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parallel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parallel

Spanish Central: Translation of parallel

Nglish: Translation of parallel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parallel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on parallel

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