pal·​ter ˈpȯl-tər How to pronounce palter (audio)
paltered; paltering ˈpȯl-t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce palter (audio)

intransitive verb

: to act insincerely or deceitfully : equivocate
palterer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for palter

lie, prevaricate, equivocate, palter, fib mean to tell an untruth.

lie is the blunt term, imputing dishonesty.

lied about where he had been

prevaricate softens the bluntness of lie by implying quibbling or confusing the issue.

during the hearings the witness did his best to prevaricate

equivocate implies using words having more than one sense so as to seem to say one thing but intend another.

equivocated endlessly in an attempt to mislead her inquisitors

palter implies making unreliable statements of fact or intention or insincere promises.

a swindler paltering with his investors

fib applies to a telling of a trivial untruth.

fibbed about the price of the new suit

Examples of palter in a Sentence

unwilling to palter over the price of the car
Recent Examples on the Web Rather than wait to share the witches’ paltering pronouncements with Lady M (Indira Varma) in person, the thane of Glamis chooses to send word to his wife in advance of his return from battle. Rhoda Feng, Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'palter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of palter was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near palter

Cite this Entry

“Palter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pal·​ter ˈpȯl-tər How to pronounce palter (audio)
paltered; paltering -t(ə)riŋ How to pronounce palter (audio)
: to act or speak insincerely
palterer noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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