palaver

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See also: Palaver

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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. Doublet of parable, parole, and parabola.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /pəˈlɑː.və(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːvə(r)

Noun[edit]

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. [from 18th c.]
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, chapter III:
      Frances pulled his hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on her husband’s knee, and there they were, like two babies, kissing and talking nonsense by the hour—foolish palaver that we should be ashamed of.
    • 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. Talk intended to deceive. [from 19th c.]
  4. Fuss.
    What a palaver!
  5. A meeting at which there is much talk; a debate; a moot.
  6. (informal) Disagreement.
    I have no palaver with him.

Synonyms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Danish: palaver
  • Finnish: palaveri
  • German: Palaver
  • Hungarian: paláver

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (intransitive) To discuss with much talk.
    Synonyms: jabber, rabbit, yak; see also Thesaurus:prattle
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick[2], chapter 21:
      “Come, come, Captain Bildad; stop palavering,—away!” and with that, Peleg hurried him over the side, and both dropt into the boat.
    • 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?”
  2. (transitive) To flatter.

References[edit]


Danish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English palaver.

Pronunciation[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

palaver c (singular definite palaveren, plural indefinite palavere)

  1. palaver

Inflection[edit]