[ puh-lahr-ee, paw- ]
/ pəˈlɑr i, pɔ- /


a distinctive English argot in use since at least the 18th century among groups of theatrical and circus performers and in certain homosexual communities, derived largely from Italian, directly or through Lingua Franca.

Origin of Polari

ultimately < Italian parlare to speak, talk; see parle
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British Dictionary definitions for polari


Parlyaree (pɑːˈljɑːrɪ)

/ (pəˈlɑːrɪ) /


an English slang that is derived from the Lingua Franca of Mediterranean ports; brought to England by sailors from the 16th century onwards. A few words survive, esp in male homosexual slang

Word Origin for Polari

C19: from Italian parlare to speak
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