1. a conference or discussion.
  2. a long parley, especially one between primitive natives and European traders, explorers, colonial officials, etc.
  3. profuse and idle talk; chatter.
  4. 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.


  1. tedious or time-consuming business, esp when of a formal natureall the palaver of filling in forms
  2. loud and confused talk and activity; hubbub
  3. (often used humorously) a conference
  4. rare talk intended to flatter or persuade
  5. Western African
    1. an argument
    2. trouble arising from an argument


  1. (intr) (often used humorously) to have a conference
  2. (intr) to talk loudly and confusedly
  3. (tr) to flatter or cajole

n.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.

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