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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PARLEY, n., int. Also parlie. Sc. form and usages. See also Barley. In children's games: 1. A state of neutrality, a period of truce, quarter, respite (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Mry., Fif. 1959 I. and P. Opie Lore and Language 152; Bnff., Ags. 1965; Bnff. 1990s; Edb. 2000s); the call for such a truce or pause in a game (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Also used fig.Abd. 1723 W. Meston Poet. Wks. (1802) 6:
On it [his skull] you might thresh wheat or barley, Or tread the grape ere he cry'd parley.
Cai. 1872 M. MacLennan Peasant Life 29:
Crying “Parley, lad!” as he came to her side, and would have returned the “skip-stroke”.

2. A place of truce, neutral ground, “home” in children's games (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 122, parlie; Uls. 1953 Traynor).

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"Parley n., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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