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

Definition of parley

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

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


plural parleys

Definition of parley (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a conference for discussion of points in dispute
b : a conference with an enemy


biographical name

Definition of Parley (Entry 3 of 3)

Peter — see Samuel Griswold goodrich

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Why Everything Is Getting Louder," 8 Oct. 2019 Generations of Indian bureaucrats had parleyed with them to try winning over Kashmiris, greasing the wheels with subsidies. The Economist, "India abruptly ends the last special protection enjoyed by Kashmir," 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, "Melbourne Orchestra brings sense of several places to Kennedy Center," 17 Oct. 2019 Iran’s reluctance to parley comes from the very top. Los Angeles Times, "Hello, Donald? This is the ayatollah calling," 28 Aug. 2019 But they are flattered that outsiders are interested, and insist on their right to parley with all comers. The Economist, "Greenlanders say Donald Trump should have asked them first," 24 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Zarif has said the U.S. must lift sanctions before such a parley. Eli Lake, Twin Cities, "Eli Lake: Without Bolton, Trump can now go soft on Iran," 12 Sep. 2019 Those categories are for individuals who do not seek to join the U.S., but rather represent nations seeking to parley with—or conquer—it. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "What Is Birthright Citizenship, and Can It Be Ended in the U.S.?," 30 Oct. 2018 North Korea is also threatening to scrap the Singapore parley unless denuclearization is taken off the agenda. Nicholas Eberstadt, WSJ, "With Kim Jong Un, There’s No ‘Win-Win’," 23 May 2018 Three days before Christmas 1945, Marshall arrived at a small stone bungalow in Chongqing to begin a series of parleys aimed at ending 18 years of civil war. James D. Hornfischer, WSJ, "‘The China Mission’ Review: The Man Who ‘Lost’ China," 3 May 2018 The adversaries conduct a formal parley, like buccaneers, declare mutual war and everyone has a fabulous time. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "The Book Your Kids Should Read This Summer," 14 July 2017 His months of reporting in Mali allow him to reconstruct vivid scenes, such as that of a night parley between a Timbuktu militia and the rebel command on a rug set before a corral of 4x4 vehicles in which the only light came from cigarettes. Tom Zoellner, New York Times, "How a Band of Conspirators Saved Timbuktu’s Treasured Manuscripts From Al Qaeda’s Torch," 2 June 2017 That's probably what Bezos was trying to tell us during that journalistic parley around the turn of the century. Robert Reed,, "Did you hear? Amazon is a local, global game-changer," 16 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parley.' 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 parley


1576, in the meaning defined above


circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for parley

Noun and Verb

Middle English parlai speech, probably from Middle French parlee, from feminine of parlé, past participle of parler to speak, from Medieval Latin parabolare, from Late Latin parabola speech, parable — more at parable

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Time Traveler for parley

Time Traveler

The first known use of parley was in 1576

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Statistics for parley

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Parley.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for parley


How to pronounce Parley (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of parley

old-fashioned : to talk with an enemy or someone you disagree with especially in order to end a conflict


par·​ley | \ ˈpär-lē How to pronounce parley (audio) \
plural parleys

Kids Definition of parley

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a discussion with an enemy


parleyed; parleying

Kids Definition of parley (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hold a discussion of terms with an enemy

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More from Merriam-Webster on parley

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parley

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parley

Spanish Central: Translation of parley

Nglish: Translation of parley for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parley for Arabic Speakers

Comments on parley

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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