Online Encyclopedia

PATTER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 936 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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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 rain-drops, is derived from the quick, mechanical repetition of the Paternoster, or Lord's Prayer.
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