Older Use. a room for the reception and entertainment of visitors to one's home; living room.
a room, apartment, or building serving as a place of business for certain businesses or professions: funeral parlor; beauty parlor.
a somewhat private room in a hotel, club, or the like for relaxation, conversation, etc.; lounge.
Also called locutorium. a room in a monastery or the like where the inhabitants may converse with visitors or with each other.


advocating something, as a political view or doctrine, at a safe remove from actual involvement in or commitment to action: parlor leftism; parlor pink.

Also especially British, par·lour.

Origin of parlor

1175–1225; Middle English parlur < Anglo-French; Old French parleor, equivalent to parl(er) to speak (see parle) + -eor -or2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for parlor

lounge, salon, reception

Examples from the Web for parlor

Contemporary Examples of parlor

  • But when they want to reverse nature, and rule white men, and marry white women, and sit in my parlor, then, by God!

  • But blame-the-candidate is a Democratic parlor game played when they lose local seats they should have won by the numbers.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Wake Up, Washington!

    John Avlon

    September 14, 2011

  • Today, savant-like information recall seems more like a parlor trick than a mark of real intelligence: cool, but not enviable.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How We Lost Our Memory

    Casey Schwartz

    March 2, 2011

  • Unwrapping her many layers has become the current parlor game of the media and blogosphere.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Right's Favorite Atheist

    Benyamin Cohen

    June 13, 2010

  • After the parlor was raided by police, the woman was jailed and then deported to Moldova by the British government.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hollywood's Sex-Slave Crusade

    Dana Goldstein

    November 11, 2009

Historical Examples of parlor

  • The first task that was set her was that of sweeping and dusting a parlor.

  • He was shown into the parlor, and Will Paine came down to see him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • If they entered a house, he sat in the parlor; if they peeped into the kitchen, he was there.

    Little Daffydowndilly

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Among my other activities, I wired the parlor for electric light.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • It might have been the parlor of the White Springs Hotel in duplicate, plush self-rocker and all.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

Word Origin and History for parlor

c.1200, parlur, "window through which confessions were made," also "apartment in a monastery for conversations with outside persons;" from Old French parleor "courtroom, judgment hall, auditorium" (12c., Modern French parloir), from parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)).

Sense of "sitting room for private conversation" is late 14c.; that of "show room for a business" (e.g. ice cream parlor) first recorded 1884. As an adjective, "advocating radical views from a position of comfort," 1910.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper