Green’s Dictionary of Slang

patter v.

[SE patter, to mumble one’s prayers at speed and without note of their meaning; ult. the Paternoster, ‘Our Father’]

1. [early 15C–early 19C] to talk rapidly, fluently or glibly, to chatter, to prattle.

2. [mid–late 18C] (UK Und.) to stop talking; to abandon an action; to stand still.

3. [mid–late 18C] (UK Und.) to sing on the streets.

4. [late 18C–early 19C] (UK Und.) to talk in a manner designed to confuse a potential victim of a confidence trick.

5. [late 18C–mid-19C] to put on trial.

6. [19C] to talk the cant of thieves, beggars etc; to talk slang; often as patter flash

7. [mid-19C-1910s] to speechify as a cheapjack does in extolling wares, or a conjurer while performing tricks.

8. [mid-19C] to sell broadsides, ballads etc. in the streets.

9. [mid-19C+] (UK Und.) to talk, to speak.

10. [late 19C] (Aus. Und.) to beg.

11. [1900s] (Aus.) to inform.

12. [1960s] to tell tales.

13. [1960s] (Scot., also patter up) to talk so as to encourage criminality; to chat up.

In phrases

patter flash (v.) [late 18C–19C]

1. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) to talk fluently.

2. to talk fast and meaninglessly.

3. to talk in cant.