[ puh-lav-er, ‐lah-ver ]
See synonyms for: palaverpalaveredpalaveringpalaverous on

  1. a conference or discussion.

  2. a parley or conference between European traders, explorers, colonial officials, etc., and people indigenous to a region, especially in West Africa.

  1. profuse and idle talk; chatter.

  2. persuasive talk; flattery; cajolery:

verb (used without object),pa·lav·ered, pa·lav·er·ing.
  1. to talk profusely and idly.

  2. to parley or confer.

verb (used with object),pa·lav·ered, pa·lav·er·ing.
  1. to cajole or persuade.

Origin of palaver

First recorded in 1710–20; noun from Portuguese palavra “word, speech, talk,” from Late Latin parabola parable; verb derivative of the noun

Other words from palaver

  • pa·lav·er·er, pa·lav·er·ist, noun
  • pa·lav·er·ment, noun
  • pa·lav·er·ous, adjective

Words Nearby palaver Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use palaver in a sentence

  • Think I want to hang around and palaver with a set of pirates that'd stick a gun in my face and tell me where I git off?

    Isle o' Dreams | Frederick F. Moore
  • Ko-boru was all for a long and impressive palaver, but recognized a certain absence of encouragement in the Commissioner's tone.

  • "That is a Government palaver," smiled Sanders, and that was all the satisfaction Ferguson received.

British Dictionary definitions for palaver


/ (pəˈlɑːvə) /

  1. tedious or time-consuming business, esp when of a formal nature: all the palaver of filling in forms

  2. loud and confused talk and activity; hubbub

  1. (often used humorously) a conference

  2. rare talk intended to flatter or persuade

  3. Western African

    • an argument

    • trouble arising from an argument

  1. (intr) (often used humorously) to have a conference

  2. (intr) to talk loudly and confusedly

  1. (tr) to flatter or cajole

Origin of palaver

C18: from Portuguese palavra talk, from Latin parabola parable

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