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From parallel +‎ -ism and from Late Latin parallelismus.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpaɹəlɛlɪz(ə)m/
  • (file)


parallelism (countable and uncountable, plural parallelisms)

  1. The state or condition of being parallel; agreement in direction, tendency, or character.
  2. The state of being in agreement or similarity; resemblance, correspondence, analogy.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.29:
      Plutarch (c. AD 46-120), in his Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, traced a parallelism between the most eminent men of the two countries.
  3. A parallel position; the relation of parallels.
  4. (rhetoric, grammar) The juxtaposition of two or more identical or equivalent syntactic constructions, especially those expressing the same sentiment with slight modifications, introduced for rhetorical effect.
  5. (philosophy) The doctrine that matter and mind do not causally interact but that physiological events in the brain or body nonetheless occur simultaneously with matching events in the mind.
  6. (law) In antitrust law, the practice of competitors of raising prices by roughly the same amount at roughly the same time, without engaging in a formal agreement to do so.
  7. (biology) Similarity of features between two species resulting from their having taken similar evolutionary paths following their initial divergence from a common ancestor.
  8. (computing) The use of parallel methods in hardware or software, so that several tasks can be performed at the same time.

Related terms[edit]