See also: Parliament

English edit

The Palace of Westminster in London, England, which is the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

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Etymology edit

From Middle English parlement, from Anglo-Norman parliament, parlement, parliment and Old French parlement (discussion, meeting, negotiation; assembly, council), from parler (to speak) + -ment (-ment, suffix forming nouns from verbs, usually indicating an action or state resulting from them) (from Latin -mentum). Compare Medieval Latin parlamentum, parliamentum (discussion, meeting; council or court summoned by the monarch), Italian parlamento and Sicilian parramentu.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

parliament (countable and uncountable, plural parliaments)

  1. (now chiefly historical) A formal council summoned (especially by a monarch) to discuss important issues. [from 13th c.]
    • 2014, “A brief history of the UK Parliament”, in BBC News[1]:
      By the 13th Century, a parliament was when kings met up with English barons to raise cash for fighting wars - mostly against Scotland.
  2. In many countries, the legislative branch of government, a deliberative assembly or set of assemblies whose elected or appointed members meet to debate the major political issues of the day, make, amend, and repeal laws, authorize the executive branch of government to spend money, and in some cases exercise judicial powers; a legislature. [from 14th c.]
    • 2011 December 14, Angelique Chrisafis, “Rachida Dati accuses French PM of sexism and elitism”, in The Guardian[2], London, archived from the original on 19 April 2016:
      The row started over who will run for parliament in a wealthy rightwing constituency on the left bank in Paris, a safe seat for Sarkozy's ruling UMP.
  3. A particular assembly of the members of such a legislature, as convened for a specific purpose or period of time (commonly designated with an ordinal number – for example, first parliament or 12th parliament – or a descriptive adjective – for example, Long Parliament, Short Parliament and Rump Parliament). [from 14th c.]
    Following the general election, Jane Doe took her oath of office as a member of the nation's fifth parliament.
    • 1633, John Hay, editor, The Acts Made in the First Parliament of our Most High and Dread Soveraigne Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.: Holden by Himselfe, Present in Person, with His Three Estates, at Edinburgh, upon the Twentie Eight Day of Iune, Anno Domini 1633, Edinburgh: Printed by Robert Young, printer to the Kings most excellent Maiestie, →OCLC, title page:
      The acts made in the first Parliament of our most high and dread soveraigne Charles, by the grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. []
    • 1834, Walter Scott, Tales of a Grandfather (Waverley Tales; 49), Parker's edition, volume I, Boston, Mass.: Samuel H[ale] Parker, →OCLC, page 223:
      [T]he army under Lambert again thrust the Rump Parliament out of doors, and commenced a new military government, by means of a committee of officers, called the Council of Safety.
  4. A gathering of birds, especially rooks or owls. [from 15th c.]
    • 1866, [Charlotte Mary Yonge], chapter III, in The Heir of Redclyffe [] In Two Volumes, volume I, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, 443 & 445 Broadway, →OCLC, page 32:
      "The people at home call it a rook's parliament when a whole crowd of rooks settle on some bare, wide common, and sit there as if they were consulting, not feeding, only stalking about with drooping wings, and solemn black cloaks."
    • 2015 January 5, Desmond Mattocks, “Seeking Meaning”, in The Last Word of America: The World in Context of America, Bloomington, Ind.: WestBow Press, →ISBN, page 97:
      Man is not the random collection of atoms with no opportunity for redemption. A mere school of fish, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, and a congress of baboons—am I to believe these lower primates are my ancestors? And if I should ask a parliament of owls, what might they say?
    • 2016, Alan Moore, Jerusalem, Liveright, published 2016, page 122:
      He'd seen a parliament of rooks a hundred strong fall on and kill one of their number amongst the nodding barley rows, and had been shown a yew that had the face of Jesus in its bark.
  5. (historical) Parliament cake, a type of gingerbread. [from 19th c.]
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair [], London: Bradbury and Evans [], published 1848, →OCLC:
      He [] was disposed to spoil little Georgy, sadly gorging the boy with apples and parliament, to the detriment of his health—until Amelia declared that George should never go out with his grandpapa unless the latter promised solemnly, and on his honour, not to give the child any cakes, lollipops, or stall produce whatever.
    • 1869, R[ichard] D[oddridge] Blackmore, chapter II, in Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor. [], volume I, London: Sampson Low, Son, & Marston, [], →OCLC, page 9:
      A certain boy leaning up against me would not allow my elbow room, and struck me very sadly in the stomach part, though his own was full of my parliament.
    • 1846, Albert Smith, The Snob's Progress:
      The children had long ago found out that the kites and shuttlecocks were failures; and popular rumour spoke in deprecating terms of the parliament and gingerbread in general, comparing it to petrified sponge, or slices of pumice stone.

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Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of parlement