[par-uh-lel, -luhl]



verb (used with object), par·al·leled, par·al·lel·ing or (especially British) par·al·lelled, par·al·lel·ling.

Origin of parallel

1540–50; < Latin parallēlus < Greek parállēlos side by side, equivalent to par- par- + állēlos one another; see allo-, else
Related formspar·al·lel·a·ble, adjectivepar·al·lel·less, adjectivepar·al·lel·ly, adverbnon·par·al·lel, adjective, nounsub·par·al·lel, adjectiveun·par·al·lel, adjective

Synonyms for parallel

Antonyms for parallel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for parallels

Contemporary Examples of parallels

Historical Examples of parallels

  • The point to be considered is whether these are the kind of parallels which would be the work of an imitator.



  • The principal street lies just north of the railroad, and parallels it.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • All these changes have parallels in other Restoration adaptations.

  • This fellow Wetter was very impertinent with his speeches and his parallels.

    The King's Mirror

    Anthony Hope

  • But there are a number of parallels and applications open to the reader.

    Four Americans

    Henry A. Beers

British Dictionary definitions for parallels


adjective (when postpositive, usually foll by to)

separated by an equal distance at every point; never touching or intersectingparallel walls
corresponding; similarparallel situations
  1. Also: consecutive(of two or more parts or melodies) moving in similar motion but keeping the same interval apart throughoutparallel fifths
  2. denoting successive chords in which the individual notes move in parallel motion
grammar denoting syntactic constructions in which the constituents of one construction correspond to those of the other
computing operating on several items of information, instructions, etc, simultaneouslyCompare serial (def. 6)


maths one of a set of parallel lines, planes, etc
an exact likeness
a comparison
Also called: parallel of latitude any of the imaginary lines around the earth parallel to the equator, designated by degrees of latitude ranging from 0° at the equator to 90° at the poles
  1. a configuration of two or more electrical components connected between two points in a circuit so that the same voltage is applied to each (esp in the phrase in parallel)
  2. (as modifier)a parallel circuit See series (def. 6)
printing the character (∥) used as a reference mark
a trench or line lying in advance of and parallel to other defensive positions

verb -lels, -leling or -leled (tr)

to make parallel
to supply a parallel to
to be a parallel to or correspond withyour experience parallels mine

Word Origin for parallel

C16: via French and Latin from Greek parallēlos alongside one another, from para- 1 + allēlos one another
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for parallels



1590s, from parallel (n.).



1540s, from Middle French parallèle (16c.) and directly from Latin parallelus, from Greek parallelos "parallel," from para allelois "beside one another," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + allelois "each other," from allos "other" (see alias). As a noun from 1550s. Parallel bars as gymnastics apparatus are recorded from 1868.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for parallels




Of or relating to lines or surfaces that are separated everywhere from each other by the same distance.


Any of the imaginary lines encircling the Earth's surface parallel to the plane of the equator, used to represent degrees of latitude. See illustration at longitude.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.