[ pahr-ley, -lee ]
/ ˈpɑr leɪ, -li /

verb (used with object)

to bet or gamble (an original amount and its winnings) on a subsequent race, contest, etc.
Informal. to use (one's money, talent, or other assets) to achieve a desired objective, as spectacular wealth or success: He parlayed a modest inheritance into a fortune.


a bet of an original sum and the subsequent winnings.

Nearby words

  1. parl.,
  2. parl. proc.,
  3. parlance,
  4. parlando,
  5. parlary,
  6. parle,
  7. parlement,
  8. parley,
  9. parleyvoo,
  10. parliament

Origin of parlay

1820–30, Americanism; alteration of earlier paroli < French < Neapolitan Italian, plural of parolo, perhaps derivative of paro equal < Latin pār; see pair Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for parlay

British Dictionary definitions for parlay


/ (ˈpɑːlɪ) US and Canadian /

verb (tr)

to stake (winnings from one bet) on a subsequent wagerBrit equivalent: double up
to exploit (one's talent) to achieve worldly success


a bet in which winnings from one wager are staked on another, or a series of such bets

Word Origin for parlay

C19: variant of paroli, via French from Neapolitan Italian parolo, from paro a pair, from Latin pār equal, par

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 parlay



1701, parloi, term in the card game faro, from French paroli, from Italian parole (Neapolitan paroli) "words, promises," plural of parolo (see parole). Meaning "exploit to advantage" is from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper