1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Patter
|←Patten||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 20
|See also Patter on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
PATTER, properly a slang word for the secret or “cant” language used by beggars, thieves, gipsies, &c., hence the fluent plausible talk that a cheap-jack employs to pass off his goods, or a conjuror to cover up his tricks. It is thus used of any rapid manner of talking, and of a “patter-song,” in which a very large number of words have to be sung at high speed to fit them to the music. The word, though in some of its senses affected by “patter,” to make a series of rapid strokes or pats, as of raindrops, is derived from the quick, mechanical repetition of the Paternoster, or Lord's Prayer.