Main definitions of patter in English

: patter1patter2

patter1

verb

[no object]
  • 1Make a repeated light tapping sound.

    ‘a flurry of rain pattered against the window’
    • ‘A light spill of acid rain was pattering against his window.’
    • ‘The rain pattered on the wide windows beside her.’
    • ‘The rain pattered loudly against the window, lulling Amber out of sleep.’
    • ‘Rain lightly pattered on the windows, the sky the lightest shade of grey.’
    • ‘The rain pattered on the windowsill in a dull rhythm.’
    • ‘The rain was still pattering down softly on her window.’
    • ‘I should perhaps warn you that if I don't get any votes, I might just end up doing nothing but listening to the rain pattering against the window.’
    • ‘Remember, you said to take a day at a time, treasure the little things - like listening to the rain pattering on the window pane, like spending time looking at the sunset.’
    • ‘Rain pattered against the windows of the castle as its inhabitants braced for the true storm that was coming.’
    • ‘With rain pattering gently off the window of her small bedroom, the fourteen year-old girl clambered out of bed to face the first day of term.’
    • ‘The rain was pattering on the side of the building.’
    • ‘Thunder clapped overhead as rain drops began to patter against the windows.’
    • ‘The sound of rain pattered above her, but her face was dry. ‘I must be inside,’ she thought.’
    • ‘Rain patters against the glass with soft, almost soothing sounds, mocking me.’
    • ‘Outside, rain was pattering against the windowpanes.’
    • ‘The sky was a grey feathery mass; the rain pattered down in little stinging freezing drops.’
    • ‘Rain pattered on the windows, fighting to come inside, but no matter how hard the raindrops hurled themselves at the glass, they always bounced right off.’
    • ‘A light rain pattered down over them as they rode along, talking about nothing in particular, enjoying each other's company.’
    • ‘The sound of rain pattering on the roof woke Miles up.’
    • ‘The sound of rain pattering on the pavement added to my feeling of hopelessness.’
    pitter-patter, tap, drum, clatter, beat, pound, rattle, throb, pulsate, rat-a-tat, go pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, clack, click-clack, thrum
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    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Run with quick light steps.
      ‘he quickly pattered down the stairs’
      • ‘He pattered off again - a strange glow seemingly emanating from his coat.’
      • ‘‘Have fun,’ his mother called after him, as he ran out the cave: his paws pattering on the fallen snow.’
      • ‘I grabbed it without hesitation and pattered down the hall behind him.’
      • ‘And then I hear the sound of little feet and they aren't pitter pattering, they are running.’
      • ‘Mum patters into the room and hops onto my bed, crossing her legs in front of her.’
      • ‘Instead of her father's big booming steps, small feet pattered against the carpet.’
      • ‘I ran to the stair chamber, listening to the footfalls of the figure come back down the stairs with another pair of feet pattering quickly behind.’
      • ‘I heard the guards pattering down the stairs at top speed.’
      • ‘Benjamin pattered across the kitchen to his mother and grabbed her skirts.’
      • ‘Amy pattered in, holding Bob in her arms, and winced.’
      • ‘But I can't make myself pause and inhale the view today, instead I patter down the steps towards the rose gardens and another wedding.’
      • ‘Bare feet pattered on cold stone, the quick breaths shallow from exhaustion, Ayla and Dylan ran on in pursuit of the two shadowy figures.’
      • ‘We heard Natalie pattering up the hall, so I decided to pull away.’
      • ‘He leapt to his feet and came pattering over to me, followed closely by Chestnut.’
      • ‘I handed her the pen and paper and she thanked me quickly, pattering back over to her table.’
      • ‘Cerbreo came pattering up then, a frown on his face.’
      • ‘She pattered across cobbles and came to the main square.’
      • ‘Feet pattered down the stairs, and then strong, slender hands were ripping his sleeve apart.’
      • ‘I nodded a little bit and pattered back to the couch.’
      scurry, scuttle, skip, trip, tiptoe, walk lightly, walk on tiptoe
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noun

  • A repeated light tapping.

    ‘the plashing patter of steady rain’
    • ‘Three hours later, the last people were gone, and the rain was a steady patter on the roof.’
    • ‘All I can hear is the light patter of the rain outside, and the sound of water dripping from my drenched self onto the car seat.’
    • ‘Children, dressed in threadbare clothes and their arms laden with gifts, seemed oblivious to the steady patter of rain and surprised at their good fortune.’
    • ‘The only sounds at ten in the morning are the hum of the automatic milking machine and the patter of rain on tin roofing.’
    • ‘The nurse left with the light patter of feet, leaving Mallory and Andrew alone once again.’
    • ‘The lesson plodded on, the patter of rain drumming on the windows filled the room with its soft noise.’
    • ‘Closing his eyes, Darien shut out the patter of the rain and listened instead for the sound of guards in the hallway beyond the window ledge.’
    • ‘With a whisper, then a patter, then a roar, the rain starts again.’
    • ‘The typewriter's tapping turns into the patter of rain as the story he's writing fades into the picture.’
    • ‘Her voice echoed across the field and Delia felt a small patter of rain on her nose.’
    • ‘He bunched himself together under the patters of rain.’
    • ‘Sound, be it the music of a violin or the patter of rain on a rooftop, is vibrations in the air around us.’
    • ‘The patter of the rain echoed throughout the large building.’
    • ‘The bad weather started a little after noon yesterday, a steady patter of sleet that lasted for hours, but didn't accumulate.’
    • ‘I hear a patter of footsteps, and Jenni comes up behind me.’
    • ‘I understand pain, appreciate laughter, treasure the patter of rain and the song of the wind more than ever before.’
    • ‘They waited for two days in the basement, making as little noise as possible, hearing the tiny patters of their feet finally leave the building.’
    • ‘The patter of light running footsteps sounded behind him.’
    • ‘Outside, she could hear the steady patter of rain against the roof.’
    • ‘I heard their patters of footsteps stop near my door.’
    pitter-patter, tapping, pattering, drumming, drumbeat, clatter, beat, beating, tattoo, pounding, throb, pulsation, rat-a-tat, pit-a-pat, clack, click-clack, clacketing, thrum, thrumming
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Phrases

  • the patter of tiny feet

    • humorous Used in reference to the presence or imminent birth of a child.

      ‘I had given up hope of hearing the patter of tiny feet’
      ‘Eric and Heather are expecting the patter of tiny feet on August 5’
      • ‘Since the patter of tiny feet arrived unexpectedly when he was 18 years old, the Napier hair stylist has been a doting dad.’
      • ‘His mum hopes to welcome the patter of tiny feet with the clicking of knitting needles.’
      • ‘Writing in the New York Times, he speaks out for the silent minority of men who wait in hope for the patter of tiny feet.’
      • ‘I can hear the patter of tiny feet in nine months time.’
      • ‘The Harford family would like to hear the patter of tiny feet in stereo, but we discovered the first time around that having a baby is not cheap.’
      • ‘His plans to expand his $109 million home have prompted speculation over the patter of tiny feet.’

Origin

Early 17th century: frequentative of pat.

Pronunciation

patter

/ˈpatə/

Main definitions of patter in English

: patter1patter2

patter2

noun

mass noun
  • 1Rapid continuous talk, such as that used by a comedian or salesperson.

    ‘take a friend with you to deflect the sales patter’
    • ‘And, as always, you can try your patter on the audience with the $50 joke competition.’
    • ‘My stage patter is tireless, kinetic and I sometimes exhaust myself and, yes, sometimes I wear dashikis and use street slang.’
    • ‘What follows, for about 45 minutes, are bizarre little set pieces, punctuated by ample, generally clever patter.’
    • ‘The lender will usually come up with its own estimate of rental income, which tends to be more realistic than the sales patter of letting agents.’
    • ‘Is it any wonder their sales patter is slick with comments about the ‘savvy’ Irish buyers who ‘drive hard bargains’.’
    • ‘And he has a nice line in self-deprecating patter.’
    • ‘Some of the sequences have more words per panel than is necessary: these are people who live by patter, after all, so you wanna see 'em using this to the fullest.’
    • ‘Instead they turned to a man with a sun tan, newly polished teeth, a nice line in patter and a keen sense of the politics of the FA.’
    • ‘We had it all: fumbled lines, clichés, bad patter.’
    • ‘That said, we all agree that a gag works best when the punchline is not telegraphed, and when the comedian's patter at least feigns originality.’
    • ‘It is patter, further marred by a condescending tone.’
    • ‘He worked up a good bit of patter with the audience and even managed to get a laugh when recounting a story that involved switching into a different language.’
    • ‘But after this pile-up of patter, the best he can do is to accept that the poor creature is incorrigible.’
    • ‘I'm talking about the equally prosaic patter of ‘No problem.’’
    • ‘It should be avoided at all costs, never mind how slick the sales patter is.’
    • ‘He has a line in patter that goes down well with the American media, and most importantly, possesses the talent to back it all up.’
    • ‘He is thoroughly dapper: all straw boater and braces and a good line in patter.’
    • ‘You quickly realise that you need a line of patter, of questions, of genuine interest peppered with observations, to break through those socially unacceptable pauses.’
    • ‘I had to give a 15-minute show with patter to demonstrate my skills and they accepted me.’
    • ‘But I'm a sucker for the smooth sales patter of the art dealers.’
    rambling, ramblings, prattle, prating, blather, blither, drivel, chatter, jabber, gabble, babble, glib talk, monologue
    pitch, sales pitch, sales talk, line, spiel
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    1. 1.1 The jargon of a profession or social group.
      ‘he picked up the patter from watching his dad’
      • ‘Rhyming slang was part of the general patter of traders and others, used as much for amusement as for secret communication.’
      • ‘The young people of Spain are becoming impressed with bullfighting again, the language of the fight part of their hip patter.’
      manner of speaking, way of speaking, speech, language, idiom, vocabulary, jargon, parlance, argot, patois, cant, -speak, dialect, vernacular, idiolect, phraseology, terminology
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    2. 1.2 Rapid speech included in a song, especially for comic effect.
      as modifier ‘a patter song of invective’
      • ‘Impeccable diction (even in patter songs), timing, and mimicry contributed to memorable character-monologues.’
      • ‘In a little over two hours, he ran through more than 30 of his greatest songs, punctuating them with hilarious, self-deprecating patter which had the audience in stitches.’
      • ‘His diction, even in the most demanding patter songs (for example the Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song in Iolanthe), was wonderful.’
      • ‘With his rambling between-song patter he fills in much of the background to his tale.’
      • ‘It is astonishing to hear him sing his section of the Act Two patter trio in a single breath.’
      • ‘I tried to imagine how a translator had struggled with the patter songs, and why?’
      • ‘In Glasgow, pantos are a series of song and dance numbers strung together with a bit of patter.’
      • ‘He has perfect clarity in the fastest patter arias that would leave most bass-baritones tripping over themselves.’
      • ‘He put on plays with his staff and fellows, delighting that he could dress in funny costumes and sing patter songs.’
      • ‘For all the score's mad energy, the dramatic shapes are never in doubt, the climaxes are effective and the syllabic patter even starts to sound like real conversation, comic yet frantic.’
      • ‘His diction, even in the most demanding patter songs, was wonderful.’
      • ‘He spends his send-off correcting the grammar of the patter song his patrons have written for him.’
      • ‘My between-song patter is useless, it's met with a rising wave of indistinct yelling and conversations with friends who must be across the room.’

verb

[no object]
  • Talk at length without saying anything significant.

    ‘she pattered on incessantly’
    • ‘She pattered on and on as we walked out the ramp to the airplane and were seated in the last row of the First Class section.’
    prattle, ramble, prate, blather, blether, blither, drivel, rattle, chatter, jabber, gabble, babble
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Origin

Late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘recite (a prayer, charm, etc.) rapidly’): from paternoster. The noun dates from the mid 18th century.

Pronunciation

patter

/ˈpatə/