Definition of Polari in English:


Line breaks: Po¦lari
Pronunciation: /pəˈlɑːri
(also Palari or Palare)


[mass noun]
  • A form of theatrical slang incorporating Italianate words, rhyming slang, and Romany, used especially by homosexuals.
    More 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'.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: məˈlôrd
used to address an English nobleman