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par·​ley ˈpär-lē How to pronounce parley (audio)
parleyed; parleying

intransitive verb

: to speak with another : confer
specifically : to discuss terms with an enemy
The government refused to parley with the rebels.


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plural parleys
: a conference for discussion of points in dispute
: a conference with an enemy

Examples of parley in a Sentence

Verb in an effort to win the goodwill of the locals, the developers parleyed with them before finalizing plans for the massive mall Noun held a parley to debate the proposed change in the town's zoning laws can we meet for an informal parley to see if we can effect a compromise?
Recent Examples on the Web
In May, delegates from the Dobson Noise Coalition parleyed with delegates from CyrusOne, including an acoustic consultant the company had hired. Bianca Bosker, The Atlantic, 8 Oct. 2019 Generations of Indian bureaucrats had parleyed with them to try winning over Kashmiris, greasing the wheels with subsidies. The Economist, 8 Aug. 2019 The tectonic buzz and growl of a didgeridoo, played with athletic skill by Harry Wilson, parleyed with the music, then settled beneath it like bedrock. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2019 Iran’s reluctance to parley comes from the very top. Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2019 But they are flattered that outsiders are interested, and insist on their right to parley with all comers. The Economist, 24 Aug. 2019
Soon after the parley, Moscow launched strikes on Syria. David F. Gordon, Foreign Affairs, 30 Sep. 2015 For a moment, this high-stakes parley thrust the duo into the spotlight, showing voters that lawmakers can effectively cross the aisle to serve the public. Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2023 Thursday's parley was the first formal meeting between senior diplomats from the two nations since Riyadh severed ties in 2016 after Iranian protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in response to Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Harold Maass, The Week, 6 Apr. 2023 The three men have agreed to a parley after Prince Philip’s funeral, a last-ditch effort to resolve some of the family conflicts that drove Harry from his ancestral home. Time, 10 Jan. 2023 Together, Houston businessmen Charles Tate and John Nau III and James Leininger, San Antonio school voucher advocate, sprang for $40,400 to help Perry, his wife Anita and others hold the parley in the Abaco Islands. Dallas News, 10 Oct. 2022 Midway through the first act of Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler’s follow-up to 2018’s Marvel blockbuster Black Panther, the action breaks for a parley session. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 11 Nov. 2022 Before the parley can devolve into violence (courtesy of Daemon), the usurped queen stopped them, and told Otto to wait for her answer. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 Oct. 2022 For starters, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and his Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Thursday held their second and final midterms parley, a contentious back-and-forth ruled unlikely to change the outcome of the election. Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 17 Oct. 2022

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

Word History



derivative of parley entry 2


Middle English parlay "speech," borrowed from Anglo-French parlee, parly "speech, conversation, debate," probably noun derivative from feminine of parlé, past participle of parler "to speak, talk," going back to early Medieval Latin parabolāre, noun derivative of Late Latin parabola "comparison, allegory, proverb, discourse, speech" — more at parable

First Known Use


1576, in the meaning defined above


circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of parley was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near parley

Cite this Entry

“Parley.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


parleyed; parleying
: to speak with another : confer
especially : to discuss terms with an enemy
parley noun


derived from early French parler "to speak" — related to parliament, parlor see Word History at parlor

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Peter see Samuel Griswold goodrich

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