Parlor or parlour

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This is another United States and British division.

parlor (or parlour) is a room in the house specifically used to entertain guests. The custom of having a parlor has become less common. More likely you will hear the word in reference to a shop or business that is specific to one type of service (e.g., a massage parlor or a tattoo parlor) or a restaurant that sells one type of food (e.g., ice cream parlor). It can also be used as an adjective.

parlor trick is a simple magic trick, or anything simple that is done to deceive or entertain. Something that would have been done in a parlor to amuse guests.

Parlous, while similar in spelling, means extremely risky or dangerous.


“In olden days, after dinner you’d go into the parlor after dinner and entertain each other,” Houston said in September. [The Press Enterprise]

Metro Police are searching for two people who robbed a cashier and others at gunpoint at the slot parlor in a northwest valley Smith’s grocery store Thursday night. [Las Vegas Sun]

In September 2010, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined a ban on tattoo parlors in neighboring Hermosa Beach — which had been approved by the city’s Planning Commission — was unconstitutional. [Daily Breeze]

Twin parlors on either side of a center hall are used as an art gallery and a gathering space for private parties. [New York Times]

First developed in the 17th century, the robot dolls were typically designed to perform a single task or parlor trick such as serving tea, writing calligraphy or even shooting small arrows from a fully functional bow. [History]

She got a job at a beauty parlour on Cuttack Road for a monthly remuneration of Rs 3,000. But it did not take long for the parlour owner to lure her into flesh trade with the offer of more money. [Telegraph India]

Aavin is in the process of rebranding its ice cream parlours as a place for families and children to hang out. [The Hindu]

The decline of parlour tricks is one of the unspoken miseries of the 21st century, going hand in hand with the decline of parlours, and it’s one of the more subtle themes of Dragon Age Inquisition. [PC Games N]