See more synonyms for parlour on

Usage note

See -or1.


  1. Older Use. a room for the reception and entertainment of visitors to one's home; living room.
  2. a room, apartment, or building serving as a place of business for certain businesses or professions: funeral parlor; beauty parlor.
  3. a somewhat private room in a hotel, club, or the like for relaxation, conversation, etc.; lounge.
  4. Also called locutorium. a room in a monastery or the like where the inhabitants may converse with visitors or with each other.
  1. 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. 2018

Related Words for parlour

parlor, salon, LR, parlour

Examples from the Web for parlour

Contemporary Examples of parlour

Historical Examples of parlour

  • I found my mother and sister together in my sister's parlour.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • In about ten minutes after my return to the parlour Lady Susan entered the room.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • As soon as I was tolerably composed I returned to the parlour.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • He stood still in the middle of the parlour, and looked into the kitchen in silence.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Nothing in the world would have induced Ossipon to go into the parlour.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for parlour


US parlor

  1. old-fashioned a living room, esp one kept tidy for the reception of visitors
  2. a reception room in a priest's house, convent, etc
  3. a small room for guests away from the public rooms in an inn, club, etc
  4. mainly US, Canadian and NZ a room or shop equipped as a place of businessa billiard parlor
  5. Caribbean a small shop, esp one selling cakes and nonalcoholic drinks
  6. Also called: milking parlour a building equipped for the milking of cows

Word Origin for parlour

C13: from Anglo-Norman parlur, from Old French parleur room in convent for receiving guests, from parler to speak; see parley
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 parlour

chiefly British English spelling of parlor (q.v.).



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