par·​lay | \ ˈpär-ˌlā How to pronounce parlay (audio) , -lē How to pronounce parlay (audio) \
parlayed; parlaying; parlays

Definition of parlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bet in a parlay
2a : to exploit successfully He hoped to parlay his basketball skills into a college scholarship.
b : to increase or otherwise transform into something of much greater value She parlayed $5,000 and years of hard work into a multimillion-dollar company.



Definition of parlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: a series of two or more bets so set up in advance that the original stake plus its winnings are risked on the successive wagers broadly : the fresh risking of an original stake together with its winnings

Did you know?

In gambling, parlay is used for a series of bets in which a person places a bet, then puts the original stake of money and all of its winnings on new wagers. The noun comes from the French name for such bets: paroli. Be careful not to mix up the verb parlay with the similar word parley, meaning "to speak with another or to confer."

Examples of parlay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb FanDuel is creating even more ways to win and FanDuel TV is the next launch to parlay more interest and engagement in sports. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 24 July 2022 So to parlay that into real life, [into the] even bigger existence of childhood ... this is so deep on so many levels. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 15 June 2022 Gender also may be contributing to the narrative that Sandberg won’t be able to parlay her ample business experience and political savvy into another act. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 2 June 2022 One of the draft's most elastic pass rushers, Jackson was never able to parlay his occasional flashes of brilliance into consistent production. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 29 Apr. 2022 Every key piece of this year's roster is eligible to return in 2022-23, though there's a possibility that multiple players parlay the spotlight provided by this year's tournament and transfer into a more prestigious program. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 28 Mar. 2022 Players have rallied around Harsin and are looking to parlay that into a collective step forward in Year 2 following five straight losses to close last season. Tom Green |, al, 26 Mar. 2022 Post-election, there was speculation the 31-year-old might parlay his success into more campaign work. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, 23 Feb. 2022 That deal, though heartbreaking for many at the time, eventually allowed Golden State to parlay Kevin Durant’s exit into Wiggins and Kuminga. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are daily odds boosts for winnable propositions, parlay insurance offers, free bets and more. Xl Media, cleveland, 4 Aug. 2022 Under the Promos and Boosts tabs in the app, registrants will find odds boosts, deposit matches, parlay insurances, profit boosts, and other risk-free wagers. Xl Media, cleveland, 9 July 2022 Certainly, the first bet insurance will be the most popular user perk following deposit, but bettors can also take advantage of a separate UFC 276 parlay insurance that will refund losing wagers in the event one leg fails to hit. Xl Media, cleveland, 1 July 2022 One parlay involves the NBA Finals, while the other is based on Major League Baseball. Xl Media, cleveland, 13 June 2022 Examining same-game parlay products, Hennessy said nearly 100% of the markets go to NBA player props. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 1 June 2022 To qualify, the final odds of the same game parlay must be +400 or longer. Xl Media, cleveland, 2 June 2022 To qualify, bettors must opt-into the parlay insurance promo. Xl Media, cleveland, 7 May 2022 The first is a same game parlay profit boost to use on any NBA Playoffs game. Xl Media, cleveland, 4 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of parlay


1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parlay


verbal derivative (perhaps with conformation to parley entry 2 or French parler "to speak") of paroli "series of bets set up so that the original stake and winnings are placed on successive wagers," borrowed from French, borrowed from Italian, plural of parolo (stress on first syllable), of uncertain origin

Note: Apparently the earliest attestation of the Italian word is in the Italian-English dictionary of John Florio, Queen Anna's New World of Words, or Dictionarie of the Italian and English Tongues (London, 1611), in which Pároli is defined as "a grand part set or cast at dice," with a corresponding verb Paroláre "to set or play at a grand part at dice." French paroli first appears as a gloss of the Italian word in the Italian-French dictionary of Antoine Oudin, Recherches italiennes et françoises, ou Dictionnaire, contenant outre les mots ordinaires, une quantité de Proverbes & de Phrases (Paris, 1640), where Italian Paroli is glossed as "paroli, aux dez" ("paroli, at dice"). C. Battisti and G. Alessio (Dizionario etimologico italiano, Florence, 1954) characterize parolo as Neapolitan ("voce napoletano") and adduce additionally Sicilian pàrula "doppia posta nel giuoco del faraone o bassetta" ("double stake in the game of faro or basset [a game similar to faro]"), which they aver to be a derivative of paro "equal." Opposing these conjectures is the entry párolo in a list of dialect words from Lucca in Tuscany, along with their etymologies, compiled by Silvio Pieri ("Appunti etimologici," Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, Band 30 [1903], p. 302). Pieri proposes that the word is a univerbation of paro lo "I offer it (hold it out)," referring to the sum wagered. This etymology is seconded by the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, and the Trésor de la langue française.


derivative of parlay entry 1

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Parlay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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Britannica English: Translation of parlay for Arabic Speakers


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