An extra bit added to a byte or word to reveal errors in storage (in RAM or disk) or transmission. Even (odd) parity means that the parity bit is set so that there are an even (odd) number of one bits in the word, including the parity bit. A single parity bit can only reveal single bit errors since if an even number of bits are wrong then the parity bit will not change. Moreover, it is not possible to tell which bit is wrong, as it is with more sophisticated error detection and correction systems.
See also longitudinal parity, checksum, cyclic redundancy check.