Definition of Polari in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈlɑːri/

Entry from British & World English dictionary

(also Palari or Palare)


[mass noun]
A form of theatrical slang incorporating Italianate words, rhyming slang, and Romany, used especially by homosexuals.
Example sentences
  • I was first introduced to the gay slang language of Polari (sometimes spelt Palare) by listening to Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne in the sixties as a child.
  • It is variously called Palare, Palyaree, Palary or Polari from its own word for ‘talk’ or ‘speech’.
  • Although similar languages have precedents - eg Lingua Franca, Polari - it wouldn't surprise me if Fo had coined the term ‘Grammelot’.


Mid 19th century: from Italian parlare 'to speak'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Po¦lari

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