Patter is a prepared and practiced speech that is designed to produce
a desired response from its audience. Examples of occupations with a
patter might include the auctioneer, salesperson, dance caller,
magician, or comedian.
The term may have been a colloquial shortening of "Pater Noster", and
may have referred to the practice of mouthing or mumbling prayers
quickly and mechanically.
From this, it became a slang word for the secret and equally
incomprehensible mutterings of a cant language used by beggars,
thieves, gypsies, etc., and then the fluent plausible talk that a
cheap-jack employs to pass off his goods. Many illusionists, e.g.,
card magicians, use patter both to enhance the show and to distract
the attention of the spectators.
It is thus also 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 the music. A western square dance caller may
interpolate patter—in the form of metrical lines, often of
nonsense—to fill in between commands to the dancers.
In some circumstances, the talk becomes a different sense of "patter":
to make a series of rapid strokes or pats, as of raindrops. Here it a
form of onomatopeia.
In certain forms of entertainment, peep shows (in the historical
meaning) and Russian rayok, patter is an important component of a
show. The radio DJ patter is among the roots of rapping.
In hypnotherapy, the hypnotist uses a 'patter' or script to deliver
positive suggestions for change to the client.
In London Labour and the London Poor,
Joe Ades, a well-known seller of peelers in New York
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
^ Square Dance Patter Sayings Archived 2013-01-02 at the Wayback Machine. Vic & Debbie Ceder's Square Dance Resource Net. ^ "The Gentleman Grafter" by Howard Kaplan, May 2006. Vanity Fair
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Patter". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University