A parliament is a legislature whose power and function are similar to those dictated by the Westminster system of the United Kingdom. More generally, "parliament" may simply refer to a democratic government's legislature. The term is derived from the French parlement, the action of parler (to speak): a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which such a discussion took place. It acquired its modern meaning as it came to be used for the body of people (in an institutional sense) who would meet to discuss matters of state.
Generally, a parliament has three functions: representation, legislation and parliamentary control (i.e., hearings, inquiries).