from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To talk or act insincerely or misleadingly; equivocate.
  • intransitive verb To be capricious; trifle.
  • intransitive verb To quibble, especially in bargaining.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To talk in a trifling manner; babble.
  • To talk insincerely; equivocate; trifle; shift; use trickery.
  • To trifle away; use or spend in a paltry manner; squander.
  • To fashion by trickery; patch up.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To trifle with; to waste; to squander in paltry ways or on worthless things.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To haggle.
  • intransitive verb To act in insincere or deceitful manner; to play false; to equivocate; to shift; to dodge; to trifle.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To babble; to chatter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To talk insincerely; to prevaricate or equivocate in speech or actions.
  • verb To trifle.

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

  • verb be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information


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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from *palter ("rag, trifle, worthless thing"), from Middle Low German palter ("rag, cloth"). More at paltry.


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  • And I would warn you, sir, that if you palter with the truth in such little matters you may darken your more important statements with suspicion.

    The Benefit of the Doubt 2010

  • “But,” continued the baron anxiously, “what hope that this juggling slave of Saladin will not palter with your Grace?”

    The Talisman 2008

  • The Shach seems to say on 115:20 that it is not like chalav akum, but rather, like pas akum the bread of the individual non-Jew, made at his or her house, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH WHAT I MENTIONED BEFORE, which was pas palter, bread of the baker.

    Actually, Not Sure What’s For Dinner | Jewschool 2007

  • They need not palter with the stale and timid compromise and convention called Birth-Control.

    Vintage Distributism Athanasius 2007

  • They need not palter with the stale and timid compromise and convention called Birth-Control.

    Archive 2007-08-01 John M 2007

  • By Rosh Hashanah some have the tradition to be stringent and try to eat only pas yisroel by that specific chag, but the halachah is clear, pas palter bread of the baker is kosher.

    Actually, Not Sure What’s For Dinner | Jewschool 2007

  • Yet he was himself a very stern respecter of the hedgerows; sought safety and found dignity in the obvious path of conduct; and would palter with no simple and recognised duty of his epoch.

    Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin 2005

  • “How, or what do you mean?” said Nigel; “I will break your head, you drunken knave, if you palter with me any longer.”

    The Fortunes of Nigel 2004

  • Do not think that you should palter with the truth either because it may not be palatable to me, or seem decorous to yourself.

    Ayala's Angel 2004

  • He smoked while the walker extolled his cloths, slipping his head between the rails of ready-mades and his palter inside his patter.

    At Swim, Two Boys Jamie O’Neill 2002


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  • Somehow this word is now considered new? Its own version of misleading, I suppose. Seen on this link:

    November 27, 2017

  • Blasphemers will profane the altar

    And read from a mischievous psalter.

    Some, without qualms

    Will distort the psalms;

    Instead of true preaching they palter.

    September 16, 2018

  • Well done, qms!

    September 17, 2018

  • Thank you kindly, zuzu.

    September 18, 2018