Definition - A form of cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus and fairground showmen, criminals, prostitutes, and by the gay subculture. It was popularised in Britain in the 1960s by the camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio show Round the Horne.

Polari/Parlyaree slang from the movie Velvet Goldmine

Polari/Parlyaree expert Paul Baker

1. It has long been associated with Punch and Judy puppet performers because the characters traditionally spoke in Parlyaree.

Etymology -
The word derives from the Italian parlare, to talk.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1933:
"Until about the end of the eighteenth century, actors were so despised that, in self-protection, they had certain words that, properly, should be described as cant and were actually known as Parlyaree."
( Partridge, Slang To-day & Yesterday iii. 223)

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