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See also: Palaver



Originally nautical slang, from Portuguese palavra (word), from Late Latin parabola (parable, speech). The term's use (especially in Africa) mimics the evolution of the word moot. As such, for sense development, see moot.



palaver (countable and uncountable, plural palavers)

  1. (Africa) A village council meeting.
    • 1799, Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior of Africa[1]:
      Here we remained four days, on account of a palaver which was held on the following occasion.
  2. Talk, especially unnecessary talk; chatter.
    • 1886, Henry James, The Princess Casamassima.
      These remarks were received with a differing demonstration: some of the company declaring that if the Dutchman cared to come round and smoke a pipe they would be glad to see him—perhaps he'd show where the thumbscrews had been put on; others being strongly of the opinion that they didn't want any more advice—they had already had advice enough to turn a donkey's stomach. What they wanted was to put forth their might without any more palaver; to do something, or for some one; to go out somewhere and smash something, on the spot—why not?—that very night.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, Active Service:
      Knowing full well the right time and the wrong time for a palaver of regret and disavowal, this battalion struggled in the desperation of despair.
    • 1979, V. S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River:
      Some of the palavers could take half a day.
    • 1985, Justin Richards, Option Lock, p 229:
      Not for the first time, he reflected that it was not so much the speeches that strained the nerves as the palaver that went with them.
  3. Fuss.
    What a palaver!
  4. A meeting at which there is much talk; a debate; a moot.
    • Carlyle
      this epoch of parliaments and eloquent palavers
  5. (informal) Disagreement.
    I have no palaver with him.



palaver (third-person singular simple present palavers, present participle palavering, simple past and past participle palavered)

  1. To discuss with much talk.
    • 1860, Atlantic Monthly, vol. 5, no. 30 (April),
      “That,” he rejoined, “is a way we Americans have. We cannot stop to palaver. What would become of our manifest destiny?”




Borrowed from English palaver.


  • IPA(key): /palavɘr/, [pʰaˈlɒwˀɐ], [pʰaˈlæˀwɐ]


palaver c (singular definite palaveren, plural indefinite palavere)

  1. palaver