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See also: polari and polāri


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Alternative forms[edit]



From Italian parlare (to talk). The loss of the first r and the changing vowel quality of the non-stressed vowels is due to the non-rhotic UK accent which reinterpreted the phonemes. The adoption of the infinitive form means that the word probably came via a Romance-based creole or pidgin like Sabir.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. A cant used in the London fishmarkets, in the British theatre, and by the homosexual community in Britain, attested since at least the 19th century and popularised in the 1950s and 1960s by the camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio show Round the Horne.
  2. A cant used by travelling showmen in Britain.

Usage notes[edit]

Some authors, like Paul Baker, contrast Polari and Parlyaree, using the former for the gay cant, and the latter for the older cant of actors and circus and fairground showmen.[1]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ Paul Baker, Polari – The Lost Language of Gay Men, Routledge 2003, passim