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90s Slang You Should Know


[puh-lav-er, ‐lah-ver] /pəˈlæv ər, ‐ˈlɑ vər/
a conference or discussion.
a long parley, especially one between primitive natives and European traders, explorers, colonial officials, etc.
profuse and idle talk; chatter.
persuasive talk; flattery; cajolery.
verb (used without object), palavered, palavering.
to talk profusely and idly.
to parley or confer.
verb (used with object), palavered, palavering.
to cajole or persuade.
Origin of palaver
1720-30; < Portuguese palavra word, speech, talk < Late Latin parabola parable
Related forms
palaverer, palaverist, noun
palaverment, noun
palaverous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for palavering
Historical Examples
  • The next day he lounges in here with his palavering ways, and demands the highest price in the market—and I give it to him!

    The Ancient Law Ellen Glasgow
  • But he'll bring cases, for he's very popular in society, and he'll do all the palavering and running round very well.

  • It took a great deal of palavering before I could persuade him that I was lost unless he consented.

  • The Kuzaks were palavering with the occupants of two heavily-loaded trader rockets.

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • Do you think we don't see through you and your palavering speeches?

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • In the evening we had a good deal of palavering with spears and shields, fighting an imaginary foe, and at times retreating.

    Adventures in New Guinea James Chalmers
  • Drouet was palavering himself with the looseness of excitement and passion.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • What an immense pother, by parliamenting and palavering in all corners of your empire, to decide such a question as that!

    Latter-Day Pamphlets Thomas Carlyle
  • He shines in action, and he'll find that out, and leave others the palavering.'

  • He scorned to talk that palavering stuff which she has been used to in the marble-covered books I told you of.

British Dictionary definitions for palavering


tedious or time-consuming business, esp when of a formal nature: all the palaver of filling in forms
loud and confused talk and activity; hubbub
(often used humorously) a conference
(rare) talk intended to flatter or persuade
(W African)
  1. an argument
  2. trouble arising from an argument
(intransitive) (often used humorously) to have a conference
(intransitive) to talk loudly and confusedly
(transitive) to flatter or cajole
Word Origin
C18: from Portuguese palavra talk, from Latin parabolaparable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for palavering



1733 (implied in palavering), "talk, conference, discussion," sailors' slang, from Portuguese palavra "word, speech, talk," traders' term for "negotiating with the natives" in West Africa, metathesis of Late Latin parabola "speech, discourse," from Latin parabola "comparison" (see parable). Meaning "idle talk" first recorded 1748. The verb is 1733, from the noun. Related: Palavering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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