Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chanter n.

also chaunter
[chant v.]

1. (also chantey man, chanty man) a seller and singer of street ballads.

[UK]‘R.M.’ Scarronides 72: With all their hair about their eares, They shriek’d and howl’d like frantick chaunters.
[UK]W. King York Spy 72: That jolly wide-mouth Chanter.
[UK]Smollett (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas II 122: I am a chanter at your service, and amuse myself with clearing my pipes, as you will hear.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 40: Chanters, that is, Ballad Singers, will not stick to commit any Roguery that lies in their Way.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Peeping Tom 11: Now, ain’t I an old chaunter?
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 56: And last, far-famed for fisty prize, / Moll Chauntress view, with bung’d up eyes.
[UK] ‘The Sprees of Tom, Jerry & Logick’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 123: In a morning at Tattersall’s you may them often see, / ’Mong jockies, grooms, and chaunters, a knowing company.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 1 Sept. 24/1: Her adventures have been sung in doggerel strains [...] by all the eminent ‘chaunters’ of ballads.
[UK]Flash Mirror 19: A cock and hen club every Tuesday and Saturday, where a swell chaunter attends and plays the f—g pony.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 76: ‘Slashing!’ said Bet [...] ‘I think I shall make it all right there myself, ven my old man goes out on a month’s cadge.’ [...] ‘What!’ thought she; ‘make it all right with the chanter? She doss with him? Bust her precious boiler!’.
see sense 2.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 226/2: The chaunter now not only sings, but fiddles.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
J. Kelley in Chadwick et al. Ocean Steamships 163: The bos’n and his mate look out for the pulling and hauling, and the dreary singing which the ‘chanty’ man weds to them.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 12 Mar. 4/3: The leather-lunged ‘chanty man’ struck [up] the famous ‘chanty’, ‘We’re all a-going to leve her’.
[UK]O.C. Malvery Soul Market 36: The young woman called herself a ‘chanter,’ [...] she had maintained her mother and crippled brother by ‘chanting’.
[UK]E. Poole Harbor (1919) 50: ‘Songs? Why sure!’ he answered. ‘It must be the chanties ye mean’ [...] ‘Oh! Chanter!’ ‘No – chanty. An’ the man that sings the verses, he’s called the chanteyman.’.
[US]W.A. Gape Half a Million Tramps 199: The ‘chanter’ in London hardly ever makes personal contact with his benefactors.

2. (also chanterer) a crooked horse dealer, also of dogs.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry I vi: Grooms, Jockies, and Chaunters, to Tattersal’s bring.
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 560: He was a horse-chaunter: he’s a leg now.
[UK]New Sprees of London 3: I’ll introduce you to the [...] Hokusers, Prigs, Swell-mobmen, Chanters, Actors, and all the flash and slang Mots, Donners, and Cullies that's faking the slums on the cross.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 24 Feb. 1/4: [headline] A Horse Chaunter and a Young Sportsman.
[UK]Dickens Little Dorrit (1967) 182: The Plaintiff was a chaunter – meaning, not a singer of anthems, but a seller of horses.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 8/1: ‘Prick the Garter’ [...] is rather a seedy game, and ‘seedy blokes’ in general they are who drive it — ‘romoneys,’ ‘chanters,’ ‘padding-ken keepers’ and low ‘fly-my-kites’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys 50: The host of ‘knockers-out’ and ‘chaunters’ and ‘copers,’ hearing of the scheme, set it down as the old dodge with a new cloak.
[UK]Daily News 23 Aug. 5/1: It is for the chanter and his attendant bonnet, who officiates as groom, to place the stock [F&H].
[UK]W.E. Henley Views and Reviews 137: An apple woman to mystify, a horse-chanter to swindle, a pugilist to study, etc [F&H].
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 194: I’m what they call a chanter, y’know [...] I’m a horse-coper, I am.
[UK]J.B. Booth London Town 312: The dog chanterer first of all looked down the columns of the newspapers [...] to see what dogs were advertized for.

In compounds

chaunter-cull (n.) (also chanter-cull) [cull n.1 (4)]

(UK Und.) a composer of ballads, broadsides and similar productions for the use of street singers and versifiers.

[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 58: Chaunter-Culls. A species of Pasquinade the most injurious to society. If a man has an enmity to a particular person or family, there is a House of Call where a set of men are ready to write on any subject or business [...] and you hear the song sung in the course of three hours from your time of payment in St. Paul’s Churchyard or the Corner of Fleet Market.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Chaunter culls, Grub-street writers, who compose songs, carrols, [sic] for ballad-singers (cant).
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 275: When the chanter-culls and last speech scribblers get hold of me, they’ll [...] put no cursed nonsense into my mouth.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 18: Chaunter-culls a singular body of men who used to haunt certain well-known public-houses, and write satirical or libellous ballads on any person, or body of persons, for a consideration. 7s. 6d. was the usual fee, and in three hours the ballad might be heard in St. Paul’s Churchyard, or other public spot.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

In phrases