Parlor What is it?


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Words and phrases come and go like names. Some are popular for a few years and then they seem “old.”  Parlor is such a word.  My grandmother used it, but now it is almost a non-word.

 For those under 50 (60?) here are some definitions:

 A room to receive and entertain visitors in the home.  A sitting room. (sometimes synonymous with living room)

A room or building that serves as a place of business such as funeral parlor, beauty parlor, ice cream parlor or tattoo parlor.   (What an odd mix)

 A lounge in a hotel or club.

Research tells me the word parlor was derived from the French word parloir, meaning “to speak”–or an audience chamber.

A digression:  I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  It was known as the “Parlor City” when I was young.  Now, no one knows what that means.   Some years ago, the title was changed to Cedar Rapids—The City of Five Seasons.   Supposedly, the fifth season is one to enjoy the other four. Say what?  That is almost as bad as parlor.

Many locals call it the city of five smells.  You will have to ask a local about this, but it does smell but not nearly as bad as in the earlier years.

What is your city?  Don’t say Loveland—The Sweetheart City, that is too easy.


3 responses to “Parlor What is it?

  1. It’s interesting because certain words, like parlor, that may fall out of everyday usage in one area of the United States may remain perfectly ‘en vogue’ in another.
    In some areas of New England, that is certainly the case with “parlor.” Being from the Midwest, the word “parlor” makes me think of other old fashioned words, like “saloon.” But when I lived in Rhode Island, it’s very common to hear people talk about having a “double parlor” in their home or getting a new rug “for the parlor.”

  2. Melissa H.

    This is exactly what I was looking for…I was just thinking about the word “parlor” and how my grandmother used it but I don’t know a single soul who says it anymore, unless they are quoting a grandparent.

  3. Thanks Melissa. There seem to be many words older generations use. Since I am “old” I use some that others don’t understand too.