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See more synonyms for palter on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to talk or act insincerely or deceitfully; lie or use trickery.
  2. to bargain with; haggle.
  3. to act carelessly; trifle.
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Origin of palter

1530–40 in sense “to speak indistinctly,” perhaps alteration of falter in same sense, with p- from palsy1
Related formspal·ter·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for palter

babble, equivocate, haggle, bargain, falsify, fib, quibble, deceive, prevaricate

Examples from the Web for palter

Historical Examples of palter

  • It is in vain to palter with our conscience: there are not two honours—two honesties.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • Never for an instant did either of these palter with the other.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • The honour of the school was in question, and he had no right to palter with that.

    The Willoughby Captains

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • Aziel could no longer palter with himself, it was the truth.


    H. Rider Haggard

  • It must not, like the witches in Macbeth, "palter in a double sense."

British Dictionary definitions for palter


verb (intr)
  1. to act or talk insincerely
  2. to haggle
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Derived Formspalterer, noun

Word Origin for palter

C16: of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for palter


1530s, "speak indistinctly," of unknown origin. It has the form of a frequentative, but no verb palt is known. Connection with paltry is uncertain. Hence "play fast and loose" (c.1600). Related: Paltered; paltering; palterer.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper