Part of speech:
Usually an uncountable noun.
(Like “milk,” “rice,” and “education,” uncountable nouns are words for stuff that can’t be broken into exact units. You talk about “some milk,” “the rice,” and “a lot of education,” but you don’t say “a milk,” “three rices,” or “many educations.”
Likewise, talk about “the palaver,” “such palaver,” “no palaver,” and so on.)
Occasionally you'll see "palaver" treated as a countable noun: "a palaver," "some palavers."
Also, you'll sometimes see "palaver" used as a verb: "Let's palaver awhile."
Palaver is talking that is loud, fast, rambling, and meaningless.
palavers, palavered, palavering
How to use it:
To use the uncountable noun, talk about "all this palaver," "the usual palaver," "having a long palaver," "the election palaver," "the palaver about the game," "the palaver at the party," and so on. For the countable noun, you can say, for example, "all those palavers over who to blame for the cheating" and "The palavers are finally over."
For the verb, talk about "endless palavering," "political palavering," "wasting time palavering," "They palavered about this and that until midnight," "I palaver with my work friends before every shift," and so on.
We don't watch much television at our house and we love the quiet, and so whenever I'm in a waiting room with a TV, the palaver from a news show or a talk show grates harshly on my ears.
There's always a good deal of palavering between the hero and the villain. Ugh. Why don't they just launch the fight sequence already?
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "palaver” means when you can explain it without saying “chatter” or “blah blah blah."
Think of a topic that you love to talk about--you know a lot about it, and to other people who don't, it might be dull-- and fill in the blank: "I'll willingly palaver with you nonstop about _____."
Example: "I'll willingly palaver with you nonstop about hair products and styling tools."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
All of the questions this month come from the nifty board game MooT, the game of semantics, etymology, and grammar. These questions were written by fellow language enthusiast Jon Steeves, the game's creator. Try a question each day, and see the correct answer the next day. Good luck!
According to Thomas Pynchon, it is used for ideological enforcement and it denotes "a set of techniques said to be based on the work of IP Pavlov, who had once trained dogs to salivate on cue"; what Cold War term is it? Answer: brainwashing.
Try this one today:
Richard Dawkins, professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, defines it as: "that set of practices that cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests." What type of medicine is it?
A Point Well Made:
Tom Robbins: “Humanity has advanced... not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”
1. The opposite of PALAVER is
2. I _____ to figure out what all the palaver was about.
A. sat down and turned off the radio
B. put on my headphones and focused on deep breathing
C. put down my book and started listening
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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