Definition for PAR'LIA-MENT

PAR'LIA-MENT, n. [Fr. parlement; Sp. It. and Port. parlamento; Arm. parlamand; composed of Fr. parler, Sp. parlar, to speak, and the termination ment, as in complement, &c. noting state. See Parley.]

  1. Literally, a speaking, conference, mutual discourse consultation; hence,
  2. In Great Britain, the grand assembly of the three estates the lords spiritual, lords temporal, and the commons; the general council of the nation constituting the legislature summoned by the king's authority to consult on the affairs of the nation, and to enact and repeal laws. Primarily, the king may be considered as a constituent branch of parliament; but the word is generally used to denote the three estates above named, consisting of two distinct branches, the house of lords and house of commons. The word parliament was introduced into England under the Norman kings. The supreme council of the nation was called under the Saxon kings, wittenagemote, the meeting of wise men or sages.
  3. The supreme council of Sweden, consisting of four estates; the nobility and representatives of the gentry; the clergy, one of which body is elected from every rural deanery of ten parishes; the burghers, elected by the magistrates and council of every corporation; and the peasants, elected by persons of their own order.
  4. In France, before the Revolution, a council or court consisting of certain noblemen.

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