Definition of palaver in English:


Syllabification: pa·lav·er
Pronunciation: /pəˈlavər, -ˈläv-


  • 1Prolonged and idle discussion: an hour of aimless palaver
    More example sentences
    • He said: ‘We thought hayracks were more in keeping than hanging baskets - we can't believe all the fuss and palaver.
    • That's what I'm coming up to Edinburgh to talk about this month: about the book and, presumably, its attendant fuss and palaver.
    • The author of this nauseating palaver is obviously so in love with what he thinks is his own eloquent rhetoric that he fails to notice his laughable double entendre.
  • 1.1 dated A parley or improvised conference between two sides.
    More example sentences
    • After a long night in our desolate camp, Jon and I have a palaver with Karchung.
    • Why not some panchayat, a round table under the overseer moon, or a palaver by the banyan tree?
    • It was quiet all around the pot-bellied stove when Jesse, the elder, finished his palaver.


[no object] Back to top  
  • Talk unnecessarily at length: it’s too hot for palavering
    More example sentences
    • The amiable but essentially conservative bipartisanship that had the notables of each incoming administration palavering happily in her dining room hadn't yet numbed the Post's spinal nerve.
    • After exiting the rear of the cave, we sat palavering between precipices of glacial ice and a slope of rock and snow.
    • To fill up the days, he palavered with neighbors and sold liquor and medical supplies.


mid 18th century (in the sense 'a talk between tribespeople and traders'): from Portuguese palavra 'word', from Latin parabola 'comparison' (see parable).

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