Stop Saying Patter Please

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sherlock, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. I will admit that I used this word for a short time. However after looking up the word it really is exactly what you don't want to use when performing.

    patter2 definition

    pat·ter (pat′ər)

    transitive verb, intransitive verb
    to speak or mumble rapidly or glibly; recite (prayers, etc.) mechanically or thoughtlessly

    Etymology: ME pateren < pater, in paternoster, as pronounced in rapid, mechanical recitation


    1. language peculiar to a group, class, etc., and not generally understood by outsiders; cant; jargon
    2. the glib, rapid speech of salespeople, comedians, magicians, etc.
    3. idle, meaningless chatter

    After reading this I think you will understand the ignorance behind using the word. Just to share some actual useful information when talking to others.

  2. It;s just slang, it's like hearing "Do a trick!". I could care less, but I didn't know that. Actually very interesting seeing as though the term has been used for a century.
  3. It's whatever you choose I guess, however if you really know the definition I think it changes your perspective.

    I think expanding your vocabulary is a great thing to do and using slang is fine, but using it with ignorance by just thinking you know the definition behind it isn't very healthy towards your intelligence.
  4. well that's the dictionary's definition but in our little subculture it means something else. Definitely not a big deal in my eyes. But if you feel like getting all proper you can call it scripting. I prefer patter.:D
  5. Its like saying, Whats up Dog. its not really a dog you are talking to.
    One thing i wish people would stop saying is table hopping. it sounds like a frog action.
    come up with something more elegant
  6. I understand the slang but when people say patter it just says that you're the person who says what they are doing, mindlessly talking about your actions. Talking to a fully capable person as if they were a toddler.

    Some slang is understandable, however, there are some bad habits/bad sayings that should really stop. It completely contradicts itself and makes you sound like a much less intelligent person who doesn't know what they are really talking about.

    My friend does patter for his tricks "Watch as I place the 5 of clubs in the middle of the deck, as I snap my fingers, I turn over the top card your 5 of clubs." Patter is actually something people avoid, random filler talk so it's not completely silent and avoids the awkward "dead" time.

    A script is something that has some sort of meaning and opens up the possibilities of reaching out to your spectator.

    The whole point of this is so maybe we can develop some better habits and more intelligent conversations and not "what deck feels the best" threads popping up every week or so.

    This also goes with "getting good reactions." I'll leave that for another day since this seems to be going over so very well. Sarcasm font inserted.
  7. Watching most 'magicians' perform these days, I should think that patter is exactly the right word to describe what they do.

    But I understand your point, Sherlock.
  8. I agree with your views on these types of threads, but is this your answer? Quarrelling over definitions and claiming that people should stop using terms that have been commonly used as a slang amongst magicians for decades? This is the intelligent conversation?

  9. Like everyone else has said using the word is almost like slang saying a word, but not using the exact definition.
  10. This is exactly how most people use's not even slang, like most have said. "Glib" means "readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so [...] Performed with a natural, offhand ease" ( Essentially, it's made-up speech that is perfected to the point that it can be delivered thoughtlessly and effortlessly, so as to appear as if it is natural speech.

    But yeah...exactly the intended definition. I'm failing to see the issue. :confused:

    Either way, I prefer's (similar) definition, as it seems to more accurately and fully explain the definition:
    "the usually glib and rapid speech or talk used by a magician while performing, a barker at a circus or sideshow, a comedian or other entertainer, a vendor of questionable wares, or the like; stylized or rehearsed talk used to attract attention, entertain, etc."
  11. I like this guy!
  12. I will say that my thread title isn't what I really meant to put, it seems silly. However, if you really think about the word and what praetoritevong said it's true about magicians nowadays.

    I don't think this is really a quarrel, just some views on things and just detailing some thoughts on how we use this word. Is it possible this word became slang because that's what magicians started to do instead of having a great presentation astonishing them.

    There are many things that bother me about what people in the magic community but I don't really go into them because I know people will come up with their reasons behind using such a "lame" word. E.x. Good reactions, magic trick, so on and so forth.

    I truly believe that as a whole we are letting go of our words that can help improve ourselves. Good reactions- as morgician once told me, "I could walk into a restaurant and crap on a table and get reactions." Magic effect not trick, I really don't mind this as much, but people use this when performing. If you use some psychology in your performance to create a better experience then "trick" will stick in their mind.

    I would just like everybody to hear me out on this, just let go of your views and really think about what I'm putting out. This was more or less just a way to improve ourselves, not arguing with the proper way to say something.

    Anyway, best of luck to you all and I hope you understand what I was trying to put out.
  13. Hopping in their tables?

    great find sherlock, you live up to your name :D
  14. That is not to say its a bad thing either, at least if its your own that you actually spend time making. Not those standard cliche one liners or stories that makes me want to light an m80 next to my ears. I think patter the word has just become universal to the magic world, I prefer to use script or outline.
  15. #15 RikAllen, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2009
    I understand where you're coming from. I personally use Script or scripting. Patter just sounds ugly to me, but I may be the only one.

    Table hopping really is a bad phrase. Unless you actually plan on hopping from table to table...or one of your stunts is hopping over a table. Walk around magic, restaurant performer, or even just professional magician who specializes in the atmosphere of fine dining would all be better.

    Perhaps magicians should get together and discuss it rationally, like on some sort of public forum created for debate amongst ones peers...

    (more table hopping suggestions)

    Or traveling sorcerer, the table nomad magician, restaurant gypsy...I could probably think of a few more
  16. I agree foolz, I don't like table hopping to much either. Restaurant walkaround or something to that effect is very nice. I would love to put restaurant gypsy on my business card if I could actually pull that look off.
  17. I thought of this recently, but not on the same note as you. Props!

    I find it a little of a degrading term for what should really just be the magician talking to his audience. "Patter" makes it seem gimmicky, selfless or impersonal.

  18. I agree the word is inaccurate. Others have brought it up before. But the people you perform for never hear the word "patter." So really--who cares what it's called.
  19. Well us as magicians should, which is listed in my previous posts.
  20. This is an interesting subject you brought up. Lately I haven't used patter much, I started using the word script. Yet, that word still doesn't correctly convey what we're trying to describe.

    script (1) something written (2) an original or principal instrument or document (3) the written text of a stage play, screenplay, or broadcast

    Source: Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition

    So technically, script doesn't fit perfectly either. When we think of a script, we thing of a set in stone group words, when in the performance of magic, all though it's good to have a structure, it's best not to be a mindless robot reciting something for the 847th time. It's ok to bend things a bit, and to interact with spectators. This is something I, and pretty much everyone else on here, need to work on.

    I would also like to discuss the definiton of patter. This is a definition I found (also in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition)

    patter: the talk with which an entertainer accompanies a routine

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