Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2000


\puh-LAV-uhr; puh-LAH-vur\ , noun;
Idle talk
Talk intended to beguile or deceive.
A parley usually between persons of different backgrounds or cultures or levels of sophistication; a talk; hence, a public conference and deliberation.
intransitive verb:
To talk idly.
transitive verb:
To flatter; to cajole.
The spaceship crew settles down for a long bout of philosophical discourse that sounds suspiciously like teatime palaver in an Oxford University common room: "Time is a construct of thought too. In High Space this is all more nakedly obvious, is it not? Space isn't a thing. As Kant said . . . ."
-- Gerald Jonas, "Science Fiction", New York Times, July 8, 1990
For me, a young writer about to have yet another commencement address inflicted on him, it was a wonderful surprise -- an honest and detailed talk, free of the usual piety and palaver that clutter those speeches.
-- Alan Lelchuk, "The Death of the Jewish Novel", New York Times, November 25, 1984
He is glad to palaver of his many adventures, as a boy will whistle after sundown in a wood.
-- O. Henry, "The Man Higher Up",
Palaver derives from Late Latin parabola, "a proverb, a parable," from Greek parabole, from paraballein, "to compare," from para-, "beside" + ballein, "to throw."
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