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Glossary

Polari


Polari (from Italian parlare, meaning 'to talk') is a form of cant slang used in Britain by some actors, circus and fairground showmen, professional wrestlers, merchant navy sailors, criminals, prostitutes, and the gay subculture.

There is some debate about its origins, but it can be traced back to at least the 19th century and possibly as far as the 16th century.

There is a long-standing connection with Punch and Judy street puppet performers, who traditionally used Polari to converse.

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Permanent link Polari - Creation date 2020-05-18