What does parallel mean?

Definitions for parallel
ˈpær əˌlɛl, -ləlpar·al·lel

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word parallel.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. analogue, analog, parallelnoun

    something having the property of being analogous to something else

  2. latitude, line of latitude, parallel of latitude, parallelnoun

    an imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator

  3. paralleladjective

    (mathematics) one of a set of parallel geometric figures (parallel lines or planes)

    "parallels never meet"

  4. paralleladjective

    being everywhere equidistant and not intersecting

    "parallel lines never converge"; "concentric circles are parallel"; "dancers in two parallel rows"

  5. parallelverb

    of or relating to the simultaneous performance of multiple operations

    "parallel processing"

  6. parallelverb

    be parallel to

    "Their roles are paralleled by ours"

  7. parallel, collimateverb

    make or place parallel to something

    "They paralleled the ditch to the highway"

  8. twin, duplicate, parallelverb

    duplicate or match

    "The polished surface twinned his face and chest in reverse"


  1. Parallelnoun

    (Geog.) One of the imaginary circles on the surface of the earth, parallel to the equator, marking the latitude; also, the corresponding line on a globe or map; as, the counry was divided into North and South at the 38th parallel.


  1. parallelnoun

    One of a set of parallel lines.

  2. parallelnoun

    A line of latitude.

    The 31st parallel passes through the center of my town.

  3. parallelnoun

    An arrangement of electrical components such that a current flows along two or more paths; see in parallel

  4. parallelnoun

    Something identical or similar in essential respects

  5. parallelverb

    To construct something parallel to something else.

  6. parallelverb

    Of a path etc: To be parallel to something else.

  7. parallelverb

    Of a process etc: To be analogous to something else.

  8. parallelverb

    To compare or liken something to something else.

  9. paralleladverb

    With a parallel relationship

    The road runs parallel with the canal.

  10. paralleladjective

    Equally distant from one another at all points.

    The horizontal lines on my notebook paper are parallel.

  11. paralleladjective

    Having the same overall direction; the comparison is indicated with "to".

  12. paralleladjective

    said of a pair of lines: that they either do not intersect or they coincide

  13. paralleladjective

    Involving the processing of multiple tasks at the same time

    a parallel algorithm

  14. Etymology: From παράλληλος, from παρά + ἄλληλος, along each other

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PARALLELadjective

    Etymology: παϱάλληλος; parallele, Fr.

    Distorting the order and theory of causes perpendicular to their effects, he draws them aside unto things whereto they run parallel, and their proper motions would never meet together. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    When honour runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished; but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the great depravations of human nature. Addison.

    The foundation principle of peripateticism is exactly parallel to an acknowledged nothing. Joseph Glanvill.

    I shall observe something parallel to the wooing and wedding suit in the behaviour of persons of figure. Addison.

    Compare the words and phrases in one place of an author, with the same in other places of the same author, which are generally called parallel places. Isaac Watts.

  2. Parallelnoun

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    Who made the spider parallels design,
    Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line? Alexander Pope.

    Dissentions, like small streams, are first begun,
    Scarce seen they rise but gather as they run;
    So lines, that from their parallel decline,
    More they proceed, the more they still disjoin. Samuel Garth.

    Such a resemblance of all parts,
    Life, death, age, fortune, nature, arts;
    She lights her torch at theirs to tell,
    And shew the world this parallel. John Denham.

    ’Twixt earthly females and the moon,
    All parallels exactly run. Jonathan Swift, Miscel.

    The parallel holds in the gainlesness, as well as laboriousness of the work. Decay of Piety.

    A reader cannot be more rationally entertained, than by comparing and drawing a parallel between his own private character, and that of other persons. Addison.

    Thou ungrateful brute, if thou wouldst find thy parallel, go to hell, which is both the region and the emblem of ingratitude. Robert South, Sermons.

    For works like these, let deathless journals tell,
    None but thyself can be thy parallel. Alexander Pope.

  3. To Parallelverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    The Azores having a middle situation between these continents and that vast tract of America, the needle seemeth equally distracted by both, and diverting unto neither, doth parallel and place itself upon the true meridian. Brown.

    His life is parallel’d
    Ev’n with the stroke and line of his great justice. William Shakespeare.

    That he stretched out the north over the empty places, seems to parallel the expression of David, he stretched out the earth upon the waters. Burnet.

    In the fire, the destruction was so swift, sudden, vast and miserable, as nothing can parallel in story. Dryden.

    I parallel’d more than once, our idea of sustance, with the Indian philosopher’s he-knew-not-what, which supported the tortoise. John Locke.


  1. parallel

    Parallel refers to two or more lines, planes, or surfaces that are equally distant from each other at all points and never intersect or meet, regardless of how far they are extended. In a broader context, it can also refer to things that are similar, comparable, or analogous to each other in some way.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Paralleladjective

    extended in the same direction, and in all parts equally distant; as, parallel lines; parallel planes

  2. Paralleladjective

    having the same direction or tendency; running side by side; being in accordance (with); tending to the same result; -- used with to and with

  3. Paralleladjective

    continuing a resemblance through many particulars; applicable in all essential parts; like; similar; as, a parallel case; a parallel passage

  4. Parallelnoun

    a line which, throughout its whole extent, is equidistant from another line; a parallel line, a parallel plane, etc

  5. Parallelnoun

    direction conformable to that of another line,

  6. Parallelnoun

    conformity continued through many particulars or in all essential points; resemblance; similarity

  7. Parallelnoun

    a comparison made; elaborate tracing of similarity; as, Johnson's parallel between Dryden and Pope

  8. Parallelnoun

    anything equal to, or resembling, another in all essential particulars; a counterpart

  9. Parallelnoun

    one of the imaginary circles on the surface of the earth, parallel to the equator, marking the latitude; also, the corresponding line on a globe or map

  10. Parallelnoun

    one of a series of long trenches constructed before a besieged fortress, by the besieging force, as a cover for troops supporting the attacking batteries. They are roughly parallel to the line of outer defenses of the fortress

  11. Parallelnoun

    a character consisting of two parallel vertical lines (thus, ) used in the text to direct attention to a similarly marked note in the margin or at the foot of a page

  12. Parallelverb

    to place or set so as to be parallel; to place so as to be parallel to, or to conform in direction with, something else

  13. Parallelverb

    fig.: To make to conform to something else in character, motive, aim, or the like

  14. Parallelverb

    to equal; to match; to correspond to

  15. Parallelverb

    to produce or adduce as a parallel

  16. Parallelverb

    to be parallel; to correspond; to be like

  17. Etymology: [F. parallle, L. parallelus, fr. Gr. ; para` beside + of one another, fr. other, akin to L. alius. See Alien.]


  1. Parallel

    Parallelism is a term in geometry that refers to a property in Euclidean space of two or more lines or planes, or a combination of these. The assumed existence and properties of parallel lines are the basis of Euclid's parallel postulate. Two lines in a plane that do not intersect or touch at a point are called parallel lines. Likewise, a line and a plane, or two planes, in three-dimensional Euclidean space that do not share a point are said to be parallel. In a non-Euclidean space, parallel lines are those that intersect only in the limit at infinity.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Parallel

    par′al-lel, adj. side by side: (geom.) extended in the same direction and equi-distant in all parts: with the same direction or tendency: running in accordance with: resembling in all essential points: like or similar.—n. a line equi-distant from another at all points: a line drawn across a map or round a globe at right angles to the axis, marking latitude: likeness: a comparison: counterpart: (pl.) trenches, dug parallel to the outline of a besieged fortress to protect the besiegers (mil.).—v.t. to place so as to be parallel: to correspond, or to make to correspond, to:—pr.p. par′alleling or par′allelling; pa.p. par′alleled or par′allelled.n. Par′allelism, state of being parallel: resemblance: comparison: likeness of form or meaning, as of two statements, clauses, or verses.—adj. Parallelis′tic, of the nature of, or involving, parallelism.—adv. Par′allelly.—Parallel bars, a pair of bars securely fixed, 4 to 6 feet above the ground, and about 1½ feet apart, used in gymnastics to strengthen the arms; Parallel forces, forces which act in parallel lines, having a single resultant, readily found by the method of moments; Parallel motion, a name given to any linkage by which circular motion may be changed into straight-line motion; Parallel rulers, a mathematical instrument for drawing parallel lines. [Fr.,—L. parallelus—Gr. parallēlospara, beside, allēlōn, of one another—allos, another.]

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Parallel

    (a) In the nomenclature of electric circuits two or more conductors leading from one point to another, are said to be in parallel. (b) When two or more conductors connect two main leads of comparatively large size and low resistance they are said to be in parallel or in multiple arc. This order is easiest pictured as the rungs of a ladder in parallel connecting its two sides representing the main leads. It may be used as a noun as "arranged in parallel," or as an adjective as "a parallel circuit," the opposite of series, q. v.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. parallel

    A term for those lines that preserve an equal distance from each other. It is sometimes used instead of latitude, as, "Our orders were to cruise in the parallel of Madeira." More definitely, they are imaginary circles parallel with the equator, ninety in the northern, and ninety in the southern hemispheres.

Editors Contribution

  1. parallel

    A line in an equal and known specific direction.

    The ship was parallel to the horizon.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 12, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. parallel

    Song lyrics by parallel -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by parallel on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Parallel

    along the same line and nearly equidistant.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'parallel' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4774

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'parallel' in Nouns Frequency: #2419

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'parallel' in Adjectives Frequency: #663

How to pronounce parallel?

How to say parallel in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of parallel in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of parallel in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of parallel in a Sentence

  1. Gooding Jr.:

    Maybe someday, but not right now. I ’m still working through personal issues in my life that were so parallel with his issues ….

  2. Seen on a button:

    I am into parallel monogamy.

  3. John Koenig:

    If two lines are truly parallel, it means they'll never actually meet.

  4. Selahattin Demirtas:

    In no part of universe two intersecting lines are called parallel. (On the question about the alleged deep state organization of Gulen movement dubbed as "parallel organization" by prime minister Erdogan during his run for state president)

  5. Rodrigo Maia:

    By changing the numbers, the Ministry of Health covers the sun with a sieve, the credibility of the statistics needs to be urgently recovered. A ministry that manipulates numbers creates a parallel world in order not to face the reality of the facts.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for parallel

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"parallel." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/parallel>.

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