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See also: polari and polāri



Alternative formsEdit


From Italian parlare (to talk). The loss of the first r and the changing vowel quality of the non-stressed vowels is due to the non-rhotic UK accent which reinterpreted the phonemes. The adoption of the infinitive form means that the word probably came via a Romance-based creole or pidgin like Sabir.

Proper nounEdit


  1. A cant used by the homosexual community in Britain, in the London fishmarkets, and in the theatre, attested since at least the 19th century and popularised in the 1950s and 1960s by the camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio show Round the Horne.
  2. A cant used by the Romani people in the theatre, fairgrounds, and circuses of Britain.

Usage notesEdit

Some authors, like Paul Baker, contrast Polari and Parlyaree, using the former for the gay cant, and the latter for the older cant of actors and circus and fairground showmen.[1]

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ Paul Baker, Polari – The Lost Language of Gay Men, Routledge 2003, passim

Further readingEdit