par·​ol | \ ˈper-əl How to pronounce parol (audio) , ˈpa-rəl \

Definition of parol

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Other Words from parol

parol adjective

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Since the 18th century, parol has been pretty much confined to oral contracts and the realm of law. No longer is anyone likely to refer to the "sweet parols" of a paramour, as in one 16th-century work. Parol brings to mind that other legal word, parole. Both words lack any connection with law in their original form. They come from Latin parabola, which means "parable" or "speech." The Latin, in turn, is from Greek parabole, meaning "comparison." The French created two words (which we then borrowed) from parabola: parol, meaning "spoken words," and parole, for "word of honor." Originally, a parole was a prisoner of war's promise to fulfill certain conditions on consideration of his release.

Examples of parol in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Special Christmas lanterns called 'parols' made of bamboo and paper are hung around towns and villages, with some places even holding contests for the most beautiful Christmas decorations. Ashley Novak, CNN, 25 Dec. 2019

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

First Known Use of parol

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parol

Middle French parole

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The first known use of parol was in the 15th century

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parol arrest

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Cite this Entry

“Parol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for parol


par·​ol | \ ˈpar-əl How to pronounce parol (audio) \

Legal Definition of parol

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an oral declaration or statement where the evidence of the gift rests in parolMatter of Cohn, 176 N.Y.S. 225 (1919) (dissent)



Legal Definition of parol (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : executed or made by word of mouth or by a writing not under seal a parol agreement
2a : given or expressed by word of mouth : oral as distinguished from written
b : relating to matters outside of a writing

History and Etymology for parol


Anglo-French, speech, talk, from Old French parole


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