Palaver (n)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on the noun palaver. It means, variously, “a long parley usually between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication,”  “idle talk,” and  “misleading or beguiling speech.” The context in this worksheet calls for the latter two meanings.

I know this isn’t the most commonly used word in the English language, but I think it might make a reasonable surrogate for a commonly used epithet among many of the students I have served, to wit, bulls**t (please forgive me that vulgarism, even in its elided form, on this G-rated blog).

Incidentally, this word can also be used as a verb to mean, intransitively, “to talk profusely or idly,” “parley,” and transitively to mean “to use palaver to cajole.” The word has an interesting pedigree: it arrives in English from the Latin parabola (“parable,” “speech”) via the Portuguese palavra (“word,” “speech”).

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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