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Latin parallelus, from Greek parallēlos, from para beside + allēlōn of one another, from allos…allos one…another, from allos other — more at else


  • 1 a : extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting <parallel rows of trees>
b : everywhere equally distant <concentric spheres are parallel>

2 a : having parallel sides <a parallel reamer>

b : being or relating to an electrical circuit having a number of conductors in parallel
c : arranged in parallel <a parallel processor> d : relating to or being a connection in a computer system in which the bits of a byte are transmitted over separate channels at the same time <a parallel port> — compare serial
  • 3 a (1) : similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development (2) : exhibiting parallelism in form, function, or development <parallel evolution>
b : readily compared : companion
c : having identical syntactical elements in corresponding positions; also : being such an element
d (1) : having the same tonic —used of major and minor keys and scales (2) : keeping the same distance apart in musical pitch
  • 4 : performed while keeping one's skis parallel <parallel turns>