• Originally, one's oath or word of honour, given as a condition of release from custody; now specifically, describing the release of a former prisoner under certain conditions, especially the promise of good behaviour.
  • Conditional release of a prisoner (now especially before the end of a custodial sentence), or the term or state of such release; the system governing such releases.
  • A word of honor, especially given by a prisoner of war, to not engage in combat if released.
  • A watchword or code phrase; a password given only to officers, distinguished from the countersign, which is given to all guards.
  • Language in use, as opposed to language as a system.
  • The permission for a foreigner who does not meet the technical requirements for a visa to be allowed to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds.
  • Alternative of parol


  • To release (a prisoner) on the understanding that s/he checks in regularly and obeys the law.


  • Borrowed from Middle French parole ("word, formal promise"), from Old French parole, from Late Latin parabola ("speech"), from Ancient Greek παραβολή. parabola, parable, and palaver.

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