Meaning of palaver in English:


Pronunciation /pəˈlɑːvə/

See synonyms for palaver

Translate palaver into Spanish


  • 1 informal mass noun Unnecessarily elaborate or complex procedure.

    • ‘there's a lot of palaver involved’
    • ‘since I've started the whole palaver, I may as well carry it forward’
    • ‘getting into each building was a bit of a palaver’
    • ‘what a palaver!’
    fuss, fuss and bother, bother, commotion, trouble, rigmarole, folderol, ado
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    1. 1.1 informal Lengthy and unproductive discussion.
      • ‘an hour of aimless palaver’
      • ‘we get endless palaver, sometimes in blank verse’
      • ‘He said: ‘We thought hayracks were more in keeping than hanging baskets - we can't believe all the fuss and palaver.’
      • ‘That's what I'm coming up to Edinburgh to talk about this month: about the book and, presumably, its attendant fuss and palaver.’
      • ‘The author of this nauseating palaver is obviously so in love with what he thinks is his own eloquent rhetoric that he fails to notice his laughable double entendre.’
      • ‘The administration may be doing the press a small favor by snubbing it, freeing reporters to abandon their scripted palaver and dig elsewhere for stories.’
      • ‘I'm just trying to say that food can be normal and not actually a huge great palaver.’
      • ‘Some parts of the world remain satisfyingly oblivious to all this palaver, however, as this true tale from a Scottish hostelry so splendidly proves.’
      • ‘There was plenty of other sorts of entries before this recent palaver.’
      • ‘Tons of people enjoy lurid palaver on an astonishingly wide variety of topics, and your specific frame of reference is not a bit rare.’
      • ‘At first it seems like an awful lot of palaver, but actually the crepe maker is rather a good idea because you can't get them thin enough in an ordinary frying pan.’
      • ‘There's some big issues to consider with all this marriage palaver.’
      • ‘All that travelling abroad and wedding palaver were just desperate, elaborate stunts to get new stories!’
      • ‘Since I've started the whole palaver, I may as well carry it forward.’
      • ‘Hence its 80 years of more or less continual crisis, in which the current palaver is a relatively minor squall.’
      • ‘I don't know why I should feel the need to go through all this palaver.’
      • ‘We found a bar and had a couple of drinks and, after some palaver, managed to order some food, and we chatted about all sorts of stuff.’
      • ‘He'll be stuck in the books and therefore we might be spared the endless palaver about his every move.’
      • ‘There was no introductory palaver, he went on stage and went straight into the music and song.’
      • ‘Now the interesting part of this whole palaver comes when you have a couple of people both using the system.’
      • ‘From the rainforests of Tasmania to the dunes of the Sahara, they swapped the pains and palaver of the 21st century for the pleasures of a purer planet.’
      • ‘Jo also sent me running for the dictionary when, after observing a particularly chaotic family row, she turned to the camera and exclaimed, ‘What a palaver!’’
      fuss, fuss and bother, bother, commotion, trouble, rigmarole, folderol, ado
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  • 2 informal, mainly historical An improvised conference between two groups, typically those without a shared language or culture.

    • ‘After a long night in our desolate camp, Jon and I have a palaver with Karchung.’
    • ‘Why not some panchayat, a round table under the overseer moon, or a palaver by the banyan tree?’
    • ‘It was quiet all around the pot-bellied stove when Jesse, the elder, finished his palaver.’
    • ‘Palaver is possible within the traditional worldview and life style called Ubuntu [humanness].’
    negotiation, talk, talks, meeting, conference, summit, discussion, dialogue, conclave, consultation, deliberation, colloquy
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[no object] informal
  • Talk unproductively and at length.

    • ‘it's too hot for palavering’
    • ‘The amiable but essentially conservative bipartisanship that had the notables of each incoming administration palavering happily in her dining room hadn't yet numbed the Post's spinal nerve.’
    • ‘After exiting the rear of the cave, we sat palavering between precipices of glacial ice and a slope of rock and snow.’
    • ‘To fill up the days, he palavered with neighbors and sold liquor and medical supplies.’
    • ‘Not wishing to waste the morning palavering about nothing, I waved.’
    • ‘But for this bloated series he endlessly ‘palavers,’ as his characters do, and his anything-goes weirdness lacks real-world relevance or resonance.’
    chatter, gossip, prattle, prate, babble, blather, blether, blither, maunder, gabble, jabber, tittle-tattle
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Early 18th century (in West Africa, denoting a quarrel or misunderstanding): from Portuguese palavra ‘word’, from Latin parabola ‘comparison’ (see parable).