Definition of parlay in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpärˌlā/
North American


[with object] (parlay something into)
1Turn an initial stake or winnings from a previous bet into (a greater amount) by gambling: it involved parlaying a small bankroll into big winnings
More example sentences
  • Baccarat is a good fit for folks who enjoy the agony and ecstasy of gambling as well as the resplendence of the milieu, and don't come to the casino primarily or exclusively to parlay small stakes into big bucks.
  • He wanted somehow to parlay his stake into ownership of the whole paper and have us send him more money in the meantime.
  • They are in the position of the horse player who bet two dollars on a long shot, then parlayed his bets and kept winning, race after race, until he bet the entire wad, $10,000, on a 10-1 shot in the last race.
1.1 informal Transform into (something greater or more valuable): a banker who parlayed a sizable inheritance into a financial empire an excellent performance is quickly parlayed into lucrative contracts
More example sentences
  • The UK property market is so relatively inflated that you can parlay your assets into some stunning place in the sun, and ever more of us are doing so.
  • While Hecht stresses that the investment came with no strings attached, it's clear that some foreign investors are hoping to parlay their investments into jobs or some other form of economic payback for their countries.
  • The initiatives continue Waterford's ongoing efforts to parlay its heritage as a premier crystal/china manufacturer into a broad spectrum luxury-lifestyle brand.


A cumulative series of bets in which winnings accruing from each transaction are used as a stake for a further bet.
Example sentences
  • The book includes several articles that include discussions of betting the side-total parlay and betting NBA futures.
  • On parlays, Bet 365 offers true odds instead of fixed odds, which often contain onerous vig.
  • But at least in betting a baseball parlay, the player isn't bucking outrageous odds set by the house.


Late 19th century: from French paroli, from Italian, from paro 'like', from Latin par 'equal'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·lay

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.