Last weekend I saw a couple of parades – a small and rather damp one in Bangor on Saturday that was part of the Bangor Carnival – and a rather bigger and more elaborate one on Sunday in Manchester that was part of the Manchester Day celebrations. This got me wondering about the origins of the word parade.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary parade meant “a show of bravado” and “an assembly of troops for inspections” in the 1650s, and comes from the French word parade (a display, show, military parade). This comes either via Middle French, via the Italian parate (a warding or defending, a garish setting forth) or the Spanish parada (a staying or stopping), from the Vulgar Latin *parata, from the Latin parer (arrange, prepare, adorn). Parade came to be applied to non-military processions in the 1670s.
Parer comes from the Latin parare (to make ready), via the Old French parer (to arrange, prepare, trim), from the Proto-Indo-European root *per- (to bring forward/forth).