Definition of parlor in US English:


(British parlour)


  • 1dated A sitting room in a private house.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    sitting room, living room, lounge, front room, best room, drawing room, morning room, salon
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  • 2A room in a public building for receiving guests.

    ‘the mayor's parlor’
    • ‘Nearly 200 residents visited the two-day exhibition at the mayor's parlour organised by developers Wainhomes last Friday and Saturday.’
    • ‘He will have a generous entertainment allowance at his disposal and the sumptuous mahogany panelled Lord Mayor's parlour as his venue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘During the same month he had welcomed children from Chernobyl in Ukraine to the mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘All of these should be carried out in the spacious city hall and mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘The presentation took place at the mayor's parlour, in the Civic Offices, in Euclid Street.’
    • ‘This meant that she greeted the LVA in the mayor's parlour, and then saw them leave to enjoy the boxing without her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Southampton's city status glory was marked with a brief but historic little ceremony in the mayor's parlour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On Friday a civic reception will be held at the mayor's parlour to say thank you to all Rotarians in Croydon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those unable to attend were invited to the mayor's parlour to accept the gifts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As well as housing all the council offices, except education, it also contained a council chamber, committee rooms and 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.’
    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.

    ‘a funeral parlor’
    ‘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.’
    • ‘He has a barbershop, beauty shop and nail salon and plans to add a deli, coffee shop and ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘A massage center had also moved in next to the ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘Linking arms with her I led her over to the ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The three of us went into the ice cream parlor behind us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once she'd finished with the band, Lauryn walked over to the ice cream parlor, thinking she'd spend some time there.’
    • ‘Why had he been watching her that day in the ice cream parlor?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I followed her into the town's favorite 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.’
    • ‘Now it's a string of yogurt shops and pizza parlors and video stores.’
    • ‘There were craft stands, smoothie shops, ice cream parlors, clothing boutiques… everything.’
    • ‘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
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  • 4A room or building equipped for milking cows.

    • ‘On the front of the main building are two doors: one leading into the milking parlor, the other into the yogurt-making facility.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Abramses' plans for future expansion to accommodate increased cheese production calls for the construction of an enlarged 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.’
    • ‘Small farms with tie-stall milking parlors were once ubiquitous in the upper Midwest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The complex consists of 17 free-stall barns spanning over 35 acres and houses the milking herd and milking parlor.’
    • ‘There also are links to various dairy-related sites offering virtual tours of milking parlors, dairy-inspired recipes and dairy-themed crossword puzzles.’
    • ‘Self-locking manger stalls can eliminate the need for sorting animals by automatically locking animals upon return 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.’
    • ‘Inside the milking parlor, Lifeline milker Clint Weidkamp coaxes a new heifer into the first of four stalls.’
    • ‘The new parlour is capable of milking the cows in 50 minutes.’
    • ‘The second system used temporary leg bands attached to cows selected by the operator in the milking parlor.’
    • ‘The hillside behind the barn is strewn with farm equipment in various states of repair, and the milking parlor is in a battered barn.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’


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

    ‘parlor libertarians’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was warmer to Gaullists, especially military ones, rather than the parlour variety ‘who poured oil on the fire while remaining in their slippers’.’


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