"conference, conversation, speech," especially with an enemy, mid-15c., parlai, from Old French parlée, from fem. past participle of Old French parler "to speak" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *paraulare, from Late Latin parabolare "to speak (in parables)," from parabola "speech, discourse," from Latin parabola "comparison" (see parable).
late 14c., parlen, "to speak, talk, confer," probably a borrowing of Old French parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)). Related: Parleyed; parleying. Meaning "to discuss terms," especially "to confer with an enemy," as on exchange of prisoners, a cease-fire, etc., is by 1560s, from the noun.
updated on January 20, 2020