[ pahr-luh-muhnt or, sometimes, pahrl-yuh- ]
/ ˈpɑr lə mənt or, sometimes, ˈpɑrl yə- /
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(usually initial capital letter) the legislature of Great Britain, historically the assembly of the three estates, now composed of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal, forming together the House of Lords, and representatives of the counties, cities, boroughs, and universities, forming the House of Commons.
(usually initial capital letter) the legislature of certain British colonies and possessions.
a legislative body in any of various other countries.
French History. any of several high courts of justice in France before 1789.
a meeting or assembly for conference on public or national affairs.
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Also Obsolete, par·le·ment [pahr-luh-muhnt] /ˈpɑr lə mənt/ .

Origin of parliament

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English: “discourse, consultation, Parliament,” from Anglo-Latin parliamentum, alteration of Medieval Latin parlāmentum, from Old French parlement “a speaking, conference” (see parle, -ment); replacing Middle English parlement, from Old French


an·ti·par·lia·ment, adjectivein·ter·par·lia·ment, adjectivesub·par·lia·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use parliament in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for parliament (1 of 2)

/ (ˈpɑːləmənt) /

an assembly of the representatives of a political nation or people, often the supreme legislative authority
any legislative or deliberative assembly, conference, etc
Also: parlement (in France before the Revolution) any of several high courts of justice in which royal decrees were registered

Word Origin for parliament

C13: from Anglo-Latin parliamentum, from Old French parlement, from parler to speak; see parley

British Dictionary definitions for parliament (2 of 2)

/ (ˈpɑːləmənt) /

the highest legislative authority in Britain, consisting of the House of Commons, which exercises effective power, the House of Lords, and the sovereign
a similar legislature in another country
the two chambers of a Parliament
the lower chamber of a Parliament
any of the assemblies of such a body created by a general election and royal summons and dissolved before the next election
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

Cultural definitions for parliament

[ (pahr-luh-muhnt) ]

An assembly of representatives, usually of an entire nation, that makes laws. Parliaments began in the Middle Ages in struggles for power between kings and their people. Today, parliaments differ from other kinds of legislatures in one important way: some of the representatives in the parliament serve as government ministers, in charge of carrying out the laws that the parliament passes. Generally, a parliament is divided by political parties, and the representative who leads the strongest political party in the parliament becomes the nation's head of government. This leader is usually called the prime minister or premier. Typically, a different person — usually a king, queen, or president — is head of state, and this person's duties are usually more ceremonial than governmental.

notes for parliament

The number of nations governed by parliaments has greatly increased in modern times.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.