Definition of parlour in English:


(US parlor)


  • 1dated A sitting room in a private house.

    ‘they had lunch in the parlour’
    as modifier ‘she knocked on the parlour door’
    • ‘The hallway lead to a parlor, sitting room and music room on the right.’
    • ‘She withdrew to the empty parlour, unlocking the door with one of her dress pins.’
    • ‘These suites are decorated with period furnishing such as oriental carpets on teak, marble and tiled floors, and all have private parlours and dining areas.’
    • ‘Outside, Nell balled her hand in a fist and bravely knocked on the grand oak door leading into the parlour.’
    • ‘The entryway was warm and welcoming, with a hat tree off to the left of the door and a sitting parlor to the right.’
    sitting room, living room, lounge, front room, best room, drawing room, morning room, salon
    View synonyms
  • 2A room in a public building for receiving guests.

    ‘the mayor's parlour’
    • ‘A visit to the Mayor's parlour in the town hall provided just one of many cross-Atlantic experiences for exchange teacher, Miss Barbara Miller.’
    • ‘All of these should be carried out in the spacious city hall and mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘As well as housing all the council offices, except education, it also contained a council chamber, committee rooms and Mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘Those unable to attend were invited to the mayor's parlour to accept the gifts.’
    • ‘The presentation took place at the mayor's parlour, in the Civic Offices, in Euclid Street.’
    • ‘The Mayor and Mayoress will host a reception in the parlour for guests before the Remembrance Sunday service followed by lunch at the Artillery Barracks.’
    • ‘This meant that she greeted the LVA in the mayor's parlour, and then saw them leave to enjoy the boxing without her.’
    • ‘During the same month he had welcomed children from Chernobyl in Ukraine to the mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘He said there was a photograph of her in the mayor's parlour in Bolton Town Hall of her visit to HMS Dido, which was Bolton's adopted ship.’
    • ‘Another item of interest the team will inspect is a small silver-encased prayer book in the mayor's parlour - Queen Katherine Parr's Book of Devotions.’
    • ‘The Mayor, Cllr John Walsh, welcomed the guests for coffee and biscuits in his parlour, describing the town as ‘the jewel of the North-west’.’
    • ‘The council would like to develop the building into a hall for up to 100 people, a council chamber, exhibition area with a bar and a mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘This would involve combining the ground floors of the town hall and Wiltshire College into one open plan area, and demolishing the current stairway to the mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘Nearly 200 residents visited the two-day exhibition at the mayor's parlour organised by developers Wainhomes last Friday and Saturday.’
    • ‘Southampton's city status glory was marked with a brief but historic little ceremony in the mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘On Friday a civic reception will be held at the mayor's parlour to say thank you to all Rotarians in Croydon.’
    • ‘It leapt to the ledge above and slid in front of the windows to the Mayor's parlour, where staff tried to grab it, but it was just out of reach.’
    • ‘He will have a generous entertainment allowance at his disposal and the sumptuous mahogany panelled Lord Mayor's parlour as his venue.’
    1. 2.1 A room in a monastery or convent that is set aside for conversation.
      • ‘Until the school was completed classes were held in the convent parlours and hall and in church galleries.’
      • ‘One day she was taken into the parlour of the convent and told by a nun that her mother was dead.’
  • 3usually with modifier A shop or business providing specified goods or services.

    ‘an ice-cream parlour’
    ‘a funeral parlour’
    • ‘Linking arms with her I led her over to the ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘Why had he been watching her that day in the ice cream parlor?’
    • ‘A massage center had also moved in next to the ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘I followed her into the town's favorite ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘Once she'd finished with the band, Lauryn walked over to the ice cream parlor, thinking she'd spend some time there.’
    • ‘You will find antique stores, ski shops, a clock and lamp shop, ice cream parlor, a book store, Vermont made furniture store, and a quilt shop, to name a few.’
    • ‘They hope to buy a business such as a sandwich shop or ice cream parlour to take advantage of rules which will allow them to live in the United States if they invest £100,000 and employ two Americans.’
    • ‘I really shouldn't have been surprised when I ended up at the ice cream parlor with Mom and my three scoops of rainbow sherbet in a sugar cone.’
    • ‘Now it's a string of yogurt shops and pizza parlors and video stores.’
    • ‘He has a barbershop, beauty shop and nail salon and plans to add a deli, coffee shop and ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘James greeted his group of friends at Mel's ice cream parlor, inclining his head in the fashion that the youth of the era were using.’
    • ‘The three of us went into the ice cream parlor behind us.’
    • ‘There were craft stands, smoothie shops, ice cream parlors, clothing boutiques… everything.’
    • ‘The beach and the promenade, with its chip shop, ice-cream parlour and amusement arcade, offered a place of refuge, romance and belonging for the young Vettriano.’
    • ‘The computerization agency has put together customized packages of software for 22 business lines, including real estate brokers, eyeglass shops, beauty parlors, sports clubs, and restaurants.’
    • ‘There are always friends who are ready for a chat in the coffee shop, ice cream parlour or fast food joint around the corner.’
    • ‘I lazily looked it over until I found an ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘In the annals of video game history, Space Invaders occupies a privileged position - the first to rise from the arcade underworld to the mainstream territory of pizza parlors and ice-cream shops.’
    • ‘The growth and development of Munster is illustrated in a series of scale models found in the Stadt Museum, built round a tempting ice cream parlour and above shops.’
    salon, shop, establishment, store
    View synonyms
  • 4A room or building equipped for milking cows.

    • ‘Nisley milks his cows in a long parlor lined with tie stalls.’
    • ‘Many insecticides used for livestock insect control are restricted for use in milking parlors and on lactating dairy cattle.’
    • ‘With all family hands on deck, by mid October the installation of the plant had commenced and by the end of January cows were being milked in the new parlour.’
    • ‘Small farms with tie-stall milking parlors were once ubiquitous in the upper Midwest.’
    • ‘Inside the milking parlor, Lifeline milker Clint Weidkamp coaxes a new heifer into the first of four stalls.’
    • ‘The plans include extending the tearoom into the milking parlour, relocating the milking parlour into another building, and improving the kitchen, visitor toilets, staff room and disabled access facilities.’
    • ‘The second system used temporary leg bands attached to cows selected by the operator in the milking parlor.’
    • ‘The complex consists of 17 free-stall barns spanning over 35 acres and houses the milking herd and milking parlor.’
    • ‘When a pen of treated cows were returned to their home pen, additional labor was required to move gates and cattle, which disrupted cow traffic from the parlor.’
    • ‘Another reason for cows producing more is that the music may dull any bangs or other noises in the parlour, which might upset them.’
    • ‘The Causeway farmer said since the new parlour was installed milk yields have increased by 180 gallons per cow and it is still rising.’
    • ‘The hillside behind the barn is strewn with farm equipment in various states of repair, and the milking parlor is in a battered barn.’
    • ‘Grouping herds by level of production also may result in efficient use of milking parlor since groups should be milked out more uniformly and at similar times.’
    • ‘The Abramses' plans for future expansion to accommodate increased cheese production calls for the construction of an enlarged milking parlor.’
    • ‘The barns and milking parlor on the farmstead had been vacant for seven years, so friends helped them clean, test equipment and replace components as needed.’
    • ‘Self-locking manger stalls can eliminate the need for sorting animals by automatically locking animals upon return from the parlor.’
    • ‘On the front of the main building are two doors: one leading into the milking parlor, the other into the yogurt-making facility.’
    • ‘Eicher is also finding that acquainting young, pregnant cows with milking parlors and milking before their first births reduces stress when they're milked after their calves are weaned.’
    • ‘The new parlour is capable of milking the cows in 50 minutes.’
    • ‘There also are links to various dairy-related sites offering virtual tours of milking parlors, dairy-inspired recipes and dairy-themed crossword puzzles.’


  • attributive Denoting a person who professes belief in but does not actively support a specified (especially radical) political view.

    ‘the parlour Socialists of the late Victorian period’
    • ‘He was warmer to Gaullists, especially military ones, rather than the parlour variety ‘who poured oil on the fire while remaining in their slippers’.’
    • ‘But what of the more serious accusation - that he is, if not a parlour anti-Semite, certainly a writer who has given them succour?’
    • ‘The system that gives prominence to the Venturas, Trumps and Buchanans, and some of the parlour spooks contending for the Republican nomination, may seem weird.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French parlur ‘place for speaking’, from Latin parlare ‘speak’.