Share this entry
Polari Line breaks: Po¦lari
Pronunciation: /pəˈlɑːri/
(also Palari or Palare)

Definition of Polari in English:


[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'.

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.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources