par·​al·​lel·​ism | \ ˈper-ə-ˌle-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce parallelism (audio) , -lə-ˌli-, ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of parallelism

1 : the quality or state of being parallel the parallelism of architectural figures
2 : resemblance, correspondence parallelism between obesity and hypertension— H. M. Marvin
3 : repeated syntactical similarities introduced for rhetorical effect biblical poetry relies largely on parallelism of lines— E. P. Sanders
4 : a theory that mind and matter accompany one another but are not causally related
5 : the independent development of a similar trait in related species or lineages following divergence (see divergence sense 1c) from a common ancestor

Keep scrolling for more

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 Larger SSDs can use more parallelism and operate with higher throughput than smaller ones. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "SSDs are on track to get bigger and cheaper thanks to PLC technology," 28 Sep. 2019 On the technical side of things, data-center-scale computing generally relies as much or more on massive parallelism as per-thread performance. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Nvidia pushes ARM supercomputing," 17 June 2019 But the machine’s real power comes not through that massive parallelism, but in problems where possible solutions can be encoded in quantum waves that slosh among the qubits. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "How to evaluate computers that don’t quite exist," 26 June 2019 Sunny Cove cores find greater opportunities for parallelism by increasing the cache sizes. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Surprise! Intel reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU cores that go deeper, wider, and faster," 12 Dec. 2018 As clock speeds tended to top out at 4GHz to 5GHz, parallelism—originally in the form of support for more processor threads, and later to more physical cores—kept the processor performance on an upward trajectory. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel debuts 9th-generation Core chips, including Core i9 and X-series parts, with a few twists," 8 Oct. 2018 One is parallelism between an early battle which the protagonist loses, and a final fight which the protagonist wins. Ciara Wardlow, The Hollywood Reporter, "What 'Tomb Raider' Forgets About Origin Stories," 17 Mar. 2018 There are pleasing artistic flourishes like a foreshadowing image of waves overwhelming Tati, and parallelisms elsewhere that endow the movie with a literary feel. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Rust’: Film Review | Sundance 2018," 23 Jan. 2018 But whether its convergence or parallelism, what sort of environment selects for intelligence? Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Scientists say ravens display foresight, a trait thought unique to apes," 14 July 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of parallelism

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about parallelism

Time Traveler for parallelism

Time Traveler

The first known use of parallelism was in 1610

See more words from the same year

Statistics for parallelism

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parallelism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for parallelism


How to pronounce parallelism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of parallelism

formal : the fact of being similar in development or form


par·​al·​lel·​ism | \ ˈpar-ə-ˌlel-ˌiz-əm, -ləl- How to pronounce parallelism (audio) \

Medical Definition of parallelism

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on parallelism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parallelism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parallelism Encyclopedia article about parallelism

Comments on parallelism

What made you want to look up parallelism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!