Definition of parlous in US English:

parlous

adjective

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

    ‘the parlous state of the economy’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The railways emerged in a parlous state, in dire need of a major overhaul.’
    • ‘Finally, I want to talk quite seriously about the parlous state of politics in this House.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And how do you sap the energy of the insurgency when the parlous state of the economy keeps everyone desperately poor?’
    bad, dire, dreadful, awful, terrible, appalling, frightful, grave, serious, desperate, precarious, uncertain, touch-and-go, difficult, unsafe, perilous, dangerous, risky
    View synonyms

adverb

archaic
  • Greatly or excessively.

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

Origin

Late Middle English: contraction of perilous.

Pronunciation

parlous

/ˈpɑrləs//ˈpärləs/