Green’s Dictionary of Slang

palaver n.

[Port. palabra, speech, talk; used by Port. traders on the West Coast of Africa, where it was picked up by British sailors, incorporated into their jargon and thence to mainstream sl.]

1. [mid-18C+] (also palaverment, pallaver, pallaveration, perlaver) chat, talk, conversation; in formal situations, a meeting.

2. [mid-18C+] wearisome, idle or insincere talk.

3. [mid-19C+] fussiness, a fuss; thus what a palaver, what a fuss.

4. [20C+] (also palaverment) business, concern, goings-on; thus none of your palaver, no business of yours.

5. [1930s] (Scot.) a fussy, ostentatious person; usu. as old palaver.

6. [1980s] (UK black) an argument, a fight.

In compounds

palaver-house (n.)

[mid-19C] any form of social centre.