par·​al·​lel·​ism ˈper-ə-ˌle-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce parallelism (audio)
: the quality or state of being parallel
the parallelism of architectural figures
: resemblance, correspondence
parallelism between obesity and hypertensionH. M. Marvin
: repeated syntactical similarities introduced for rhetorical effect
biblical poetry relies largely on parallelism of linesE. P. Sanders
: a theory that mind and matter accompany one another but are not causally related
: the independent development of similar traits or features (as of body structure or behavior) in different species or lineages that have common ancestry and that typically occupy similar environments or ecological niches : parallel evolution

Examples of parallelism in a Sentence

There is some degree of parallelism between the lives of the two women. There is a certain parallelism in the development of the two technologies.
Recent Examples on the Web To begin with Henry Sugar and end with Poison, which debuts last, is to grapple with an unsettling parallelism. Vulture, 29 Sep. 2023 Level 2 introduces variables, sensor values, units, flow control statements, arithmetic operations, recursion, and parallelism. Julian Da Silva Gillig, IEEE Spectrum, 23 Nov. 2016 While adding more hardware can increase capacity and performance, the real magic of what Pure has delivered is in its software, PurityFB, which exploits the parallelism inherent in a blade architecture by distributing state and protocol handling equally across all available resources. Steve McDowell, Forbes, 9 June 2022 That's inefficient because modern processors can do many calculations at the same time by using multiple cores on each chip, and there is parallelism built into each core as well. IEEE Spectrum, 14 Feb. 2023 The efforts are vast: Solana is trying to add more parallelism and more computing power to its chain, while Polygon is investing in Zero Knowledge rollups. Kathleen Breitman, Fortune, 5 Jan. 2023 The parallelism between Ethiopia and Arabia in this model is clear, with the major difference being magnitude of the source population admixture (greater in Arabia), as well as some differences of the target population. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 2 Dec. 2012 At the highest level, Exadata X9M enables fast analytics through parallelism and smart storage. Steve McDowell, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 As shown with Heron, systems can be linked together with classical parallelism using chip-to-chip links for multiple modules or extend the size of individual units with long range coupling. Paul Smith-Goodson, Forbes, 18 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parallelism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of parallelism was in 1610

Dictionary Entries Near parallelism

Cite this Entry

“Parallelism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


par·​al·​lel·​ism ˈpar-ə-ˌlel-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce parallelism (audio)
: the quality or state of being parallel
especially : similarity of construction of word groups especially for effect or rhythm

Medical Definition


par·​al·​lel·​ism ˈpar-ə-ˌlel-ˌiz-əm, -ləl- How to pronounce parallelism (audio)
: a philosophical or psychological doctrine that there is a one-to-one correspondence between events in the mind and events in the brain but that the two sets of events exist without interacting in a causal way

called also psychophysical parallelism

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