from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A cant used by the homosexual community in Britain, in the London fishmarkets, and in the theatre, attested since at least the 19th century and popularised in the 1950s and 1960s by the camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio show Round the Horne.
  • proper n. A cant used by the Romani people in the theatre, fairgrounds, and circuses of Britain.


From Italian parlare ("to talk"). The loss of the first r and the changing vowel quality of the non-stressed vowels is due to the non-rhotic UK accent which reinterpreted the phonemes. The adoption of the infinitive form means that the word probably came via a Romance-based creole or pidgin like Lingua Franca, which use the infinitive of source words to fill every grammatical purpose of the pidginised verb. (Wiktionary)


  • Like all slang, Polari is an ever-changing vocabulary.


  • Rap patois and Polari British slang parlance popular with 1960s gay subculture before being gay had been de-criminalised both have their own exclusive lexicons.

    Gary Nunn: Is It Odd for a White Gay Man to Love Hip-Hop?

  • You better start learning Polari, or you'll find yourself outblogged in 2 weeks, Snobby Boy.

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  • Hadley was asked about it during a press conference today and he claims he has almost no recollection of anything that happened during the meeting with Polari:

    Think Progress » Hadley’s Non-Denial Denial on Forged Documents

  • From the prisons and music halls of Edwardian England to Kenneth Williams, American GIs in London, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Polari has been used to laugh, bitch, gossip, and cruise.


  • A carefully researched and entertaining read, The Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang presents a lexicon of Polari and a more general dictionary of lesbian and gay slang.


  • Polari has been the secret language of gay men and women throughout the twentieth century.


  • Here's a blurb about a new book about Polari on Amazon:


  • Turns out the word comes from the secret "language" of Polari.


  • Ah.. but it does appear on Hugh Young's Lexicon of Polari.



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