Etymology: Latin parallelus, from Greek parallēlos, from para beside + allēlōn of one another, from allos…allos one…another, from allos other — more at else
a. extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting <parallel rows of trees> b. everywhere equally distant <concentric spheres are parallel> 2. a. having parallel sides <a parallel reamer> b. being or relating to an electrical circuit having a number of conductors in parallel c. arranged in parallel <a parallel processor> d. relating to or being a connection in a computer system in which the bits of a byte are transmitted over separate channels at the same time <a parallel port> — compare serial 3. a. (1) similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development (2) exhibiting parallelism in form, function, or development <parallel evolution> b. readily compared ; companion c. having identical syntactical elements in corresponding positions; also being such an element d. (1) having the same tonic — used of major and minor keys and scales (2) keeping the same distance apart in musical pitch 4. performed while keeping one's skis parallel <parallel turns> Synonyms: see similar II. noun Date: 1551 1. a. a parallel line, curve, or surface b. one of the imaginary circles on the surface of the earth paralleling the equator and marking the latitude; also the corresponding line on a globe or map — see latitude illustration c. a character || used in printing especially as a reference mark 2. a. something equal or similar in all essential particulars ; counterpart b. similarity, analogue 3. a comparison to show resemblance 4. a. the state of being physically parallel b. an arrangement of electrical devices in a circuit in which the same potential difference is applied to two or more resistances with each resistance being on a different branch of the circuit — compare series c. an arrangement or state that permits several operations or tasks to be performed simultaneously rather than consecutively III. transitive verb Date: 1598 1. to indicate analogy of ; compare 2. a. to show something equal to ; match b. to correspond to 3. to place so as to be parallel in direction with something 4. to extend, run, or move in a direction parallel to IV. adverb Date: circa 1747 in a parallel manner
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.