from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Idle chatter.
  • n. Talk intended to charm or beguile.
  • n. Obsolete A parley between European explorers and representatives of local populations, especially in Africa.
  • transitive v. To flatter or cajole.
  • intransitive v. To chatter idly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A village council meeting.
  • n. Talk, especially unnecessary talk, fuss.
  • n. A meeting at which there is much talk.
  • n. Disagreement
  • v. To discuss with much talk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Talk; conversation; esp., idle or beguiling talk; talk intended to deceive; flattery.
  • n. In Africa, a parley with the natives; a talk; hence, a public conference and deliberation; a debate.
  • v. To make palaver with, or to; to used palaver; to talk idly or deceitfully; to employ flattery; to cajole.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To talk idly or plausibly; indulge in palaver.
  • To flatter; cajole.
  • n. A long talk; a parley; a conference, such as takes, place between travelers or explorers and suspicious or hostile natives; superfluous or idle talk.
  • n.
  • n. Parley; conference.
  • n. Flattery; adulation; talk intended to deceive.
  • n. Synonyms and See prattle, n.
  • n. Business; an affair to be settled; affairs.
  • n. A dodge; a contrivance; a plot.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. have a lengthy discussion, usually between people of different backgrounds
  • v. speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly
  • v. influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
  • n. flattery intended to persuade
  • n. loud and confused and empty talk


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Portuguese palavra, speech, alteration of Late Latin parabola, speech, parable; see parable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally nautical slang, from Portuguese palavra ("word"), from Late Latin parabola ("parable, speech")



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  • Two vultures engaged in ghoulish palaver

    On owning an old sow's cadaver.

    Said one, "if you'll trade

    Some brain marmalade

    And a sip of hot bile you can have her."

    February 22, 2014

  • See dissemblance

    March 3, 2012

  • Very often used with a subaudition of humbug.

    April 19, 2011

  • This word was chosen as Wordnik word of the day.

    November 11, 2009

  • Context.

    August 16, 2008

  • This word has a lot of definitions that don't have anything to do with each other. How would anyone know what you meant by it?

    August 16, 2008

  • The word is from Portuguese palavra "word, speech" (thus cognate with 'parley', 'parable', 'parole', 'parliament' etc.) and probably comes into English via some African pidgin, as early uses all refer to discussions or disputes with or among Africans. Thence it passed in a fairly wide range of different senses relating to speech, dispute, or persuasion.

    August 13, 2008

  • This word was used by Rudyard Kipling to refer to a meeting or gathering. One can see the relationship with its 'current' meaning.

    August 13, 2008

  • Who paid in palaver and crumpled old dollars

    Which we squirreled away

    In our rat-trap hotel by the freeway

    And we slept in Sundays

    August 14, 2007

  • This reminds me of the Gunslinger

    December 14, 2006