- (usually initial capital letter) the legislature of Great Britain, historically the assembly of the three estates, now composed of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal, forming together the House of Lords, and representatives of the counties, cities, boroughs, and universities, forming the House of Commons.
- (usually initial capital letter) the legislature of certain British colonies and possessions.
- a legislative body in any of various other countries.
- French History. any of several high courts of justice in France before 1789.
- a meeting or assembly for conference on public or national affairs.
- Cards. fan-tan(def 1).
- an assembly of the representatives of a political nation or people, often the supreme legislative authority
- any legislative or deliberative assembly, conference, etc
- Also: parlement (in France before the Revolution) any of several high courts of justice in which royal decrees were registered
- the highest legislative authority in Britain, consisting of the House of Commons, which exercises effective power, the House of Lords, and the sovereign
- a similar legislature in another country
- the two chambers of a Parliament
- the lower chamber of a Parliament
- any of the assemblies of such a body created by a general election and royal summons and dissolved before the next election
n.c.1300, “consultation; formal conference, assembly,” from Old French parlement (11c.), originally “a speaking, talk,” from parler “to speak” (see parley (n.)); spelling altered c.1400 to conform with Medieval Latin parliamentum. Anglo-Latin parliamentum is attested from early 13c. Specific sense “representative assembly of England or Ireland” emerged by mid-14c. from general meaning “a conference of the secular and/or ecclesiastical aristocracy summoned by a monarch.” An assembly of representatives, usually of an entire nation, that makes laws. Parliaments began in the Middle Ages in struggles for power between kings and their people. Today, parliaments differ from other kinds of legislatures in one important way: some of the representatives in the parliament serve as government ministers, in charge of carrying out the laws that the parliament passes. Generally, a parliament is divided by political parties, and the representative who leads the strongest political party in the parliament becomes the nation’s head of government. This leader is usually called the prime minister or premier. Typically, a different person — usually a king, queen, or president — is head of state, and this person’s duties are usually more ceremonial than governmental.