verb (used with object)
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Origin of parlay
Words nearby parlay
What does parlay mean?
In gambling, to parlay a bet means to “let it ride”—to wager the original amount and any winnings on a subsequent bet. Parlay can also be used as a noun to refer to such a bet.
Sometimes it means something more specific, especially in the context of sports betting: a single wager that depends on the outcome of multiple events, most commonly sports games.
Parlay can also be used in a general way meaning to use a resource, such as money or talent, to achieve an outcome, such as wealth or success.
Example: I always end up trying to parlay my winnings and then losing everything.
Where does parlay come from?
The first records of parlay come from the 1820s. It is an alteration of an earlier term, paroli, which came via French from the Italian parolo, which may be a derivative of the Italian paro, meaning “equal.” It might be derived from the Latin pār, which means “pair” (and is also the basis of the word pair).
Say you win a bet. You could take your winnings and go home. But gamblers like to gamble, so they often parlay their bet—they “let it ride” by betting their original wager and all their winnings (with the obvious goal of winning big). The word is used in many different forms of gambling, but in sports betting it means something more specific. A simple example of a parlay bet would be betting on two separate games with one wager. If both of your chosen teams win, you get a bigger payout than if you had bet on the games separately.
More generally, parlay is used in situations when someone starts with something small and builds into something bigger, especially wealth or success, as in She was able to parlay the small amount of exposure she got from winning the contest into international fame.
Parlay was originally and is still primarily used in the United States. The British equivalent is double up, though that term is used in the U.S. as well. Parlay should not be confused with the term parley, typically meaning “an informal conference” or “to hold such a conference.”
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What are some synonyms for parlay?
- let it ride
- double up
What are some words that may share a root or word element with parlay?
What are some words that often get used in discussing parlay?
What are some words parlay may be commonly confused with?
How is parlay used in real life?
Parlay is most commonly used in the context of gambling, and it is increasingly popular in sports betting.
Gonna parlay my winnings from Wednesday night for Saturday's #Powerball
— tinabolich (@christinabolich) January 9, 2016
Gonna go ahead and predict Cano for AL MVP right now. Parlay that bet with the Dodgers signing him next offseason for an insane contract.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) March 11, 2013
Always parlay your success and momentum into greater achievement by reinvesting your profits instead of buying "toys".
— Shaukat Adam (@whatisbusiness) May 18, 2011
Try using parlay!
True or False?
In sports betting, a parlay bet involves wagering on multiple outcomes.
How to use parlay in a sentence
Ditto Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who won easily, and might parlay his success into a presidential bid.
How he intends to practically parlay that will be fascinating to watch.
An unfettered Lagarde could parlay her stint managing crises in Washington for glittering new adventures.IMF Chief Lagarde Placed Under Formal Investigation in France|Tracy McNicoll|August 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Smartphone apps like Grindr have been able to parlay that acceleration of trust (and, dare we say, desire) into a big business.Generation Naive: Why Young People Can’t Help Falling for Strangers Online|Caitlin Dickson|March 25, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Can she parlay her position and knowledge gained on the House Intelligence Committee into credibility as commander in chief?CNN Foreign-Policy GOP Presidential Debate Crystal Ball|Mark McKinnon|November 22, 2011|DAILY BEAST
M. le Compte de Varique ne se playt qua parlay de vous: M. de Moon aucy.The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.|W. M. Thackeray
Bub Smith wus well acquainted with the President's hired man, so he let us in without parlay.Sweet Cicely|Josiah Allen's Wife: Marietta Holley
Others might falter on the way; might palter with the truth; might parlay with the enemy.
The house of Parlay was a big two-story frame affair, built of California lumber, with a galvanized iron roof.
Parlay skipped with astonishing nimbleness across the crowded room to the barometer on the wall.