mentaltoaster (birdlime) wrote in w_otd,
mentaltoaster
birdlime
w_otd

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palaver
n.
1. Idle chatter.
2. Talk intended to charm or beguile.
3. Obsolete. A parley between European explorers and representatives of local populations, especially in Africa.

intransitive verb:
To use palaver; to talk idly.

transitive verb:
To use palaver to; to flatter; to cajole.

Palaver derives from Late Latin parabola, a proverb, a parable, from Greek parabole, from paraballein, to compare, from para-, beside + ballein, to throw. In Medieval Latin, parabola acquired the further senses 'word' and 'tale, story', whence Portuguese palavra (compare Spanish palabra, word), whence palaver, with its own new, naturally derivative senses.

T]he 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

or; there is much palaver among college students, be they drunk or sober.
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