Definition of parlous in English:



humorous, archaic
  • Full of danger or uncertainty; precarious.

    ‘the parlous state of the economy’
    ‘the General's position was parlous’
    • ‘We come in day after day, lament the parlous state of the telecoms industry and resolve on a regular basis to get new means of employment.’
    • ‘Finally, I want to talk quite seriously about the parlous state of politics in this House.’
    • ‘The railways emerged in a parlous state, in dire need of a major overhaul.’
    • ‘And how do you sap the energy of the insurgency when the parlous state of the economy keeps everyone desperately poor?’
    • ‘That is not a high level of income, but when one considers a number of other issues one finds that it is becoming even more difficult and parlous for people to live on it.’
    bad, dire, dreadful, awful, terrible, appalling, frightful, grave, serious, desperate, precarious, uncertain, touch-and-go, difficult, unsafe, perilous, dangerous, risky
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  • Greatly or excessively.

    ‘she is parlous handsome’
    • ‘Is the state of American political fiction really so parlous perilous?’


Late Middle English: contraction of perilous.