Skip to main content
Select Source:

PATTER

PATTER [From Latin Paternoster Our Father (the name of a common Christian prayer), used as a verb meaning ‘to gabble, recite quickly’, then as a noun for any gabbling ritual or routine].
1. Rapid, fluent speech that may or may not make sense or be sincerely intended, like someone going meaninglessly through a ritual learned by heart.

2. The stylized LINGO of salesmen, hucksters, sideshow barkers, conjurors, and comedians: ‘Nothing up my sleeve, ladies and gentlemen, nothing down my trousers, and we take the bunny rabbit like so, you see—everybody see?—and—hey presto! No more bunny rabbit!’

3. Stylized DIALOGUE, such as the rehearsed routines of stand-up comics, one of whom is the straight man, the other the funny man.

4. Especially in GLASGOW in Scotland, words used with skill: Ah like yur patter, Jimmy—yur patter runs like watter. Someone fluent and garrulous, whether sincere or otherwise, is a patter merchant. From this usage, the term has been extended to Glasgow dialect, often called the patter. See BLARNEY, NONSENSE, RAP.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"PATTER." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"PATTER." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/patter

"PATTER." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/patter

patter

pat·ter1 / ˈpatər/ • v. [intr.] make a repeated light tapping sound: a flurry of rain pattered against the window. ∎  run with quick light steps: plovers pattered at the edge of the marsh. • n. [in sing.] a repeated light tapping: the rain had stopped its vibrating patter above him. pat·ter2 • n. rapid or smooth-flowing continuous talk, such as that used by a comedian or salesman: slick black hair, flashy clothes, and a New York line of patter. ∎  rapid speech included in a song, esp. for comic effect: [as adj.] a patter song of invective. ∎  the special language or jargon of a profession or other group: he picked up the patter from watching his dad. • v. [intr.] talk at length without saying anything significant: she pattered on incessantly.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"patter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"patter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-0

"patter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-0

patter

patter1 repeat the paternoster or other prayers, etc., rapidly or glibly XIV; talk rapidly or fluently XV. f. pater, short for PATERNOSTER.
Hence sb. XVIII.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-1

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-1

patter

patter2 make a rapid succession of taps or light strokes XVII; run with rapid short steps XIX. frequent. f. PAT vb. + -ER4.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-2

"patter." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter-2

patter

patterattar, batter, bespatter, chatter, clatter, flatter, hatter, Kenyatta, latter, matamata, matter, natter, patter, platter, ratter, regatta, satyr, scatter, shatter, smatter, spatter, splatter, yatter •abstractor, actor, attractor, compactor, contractor, enactor, exactor, extractor, factor, infractor, protractor, redactor, refractor, tractor, transactor •Atlanta, banter, canter, infanta, levanter, manta, ranter, Santa, tam-o'-shanter •adaptor, captor, chapter, raptor •Antofagasta, aster, Astor, canasta, Jocasta, oleaster, pasta, piastre (US piaster), pilaster, poetaster, Rasta, Zoroasterdragster, gagster •Baxter • prankster • hamster •gangsta, gangster •malefactor • benefactor •pitter-patter • subcontractor •chiropractor

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"patter." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"patter." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter

"patter." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patter