Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several coded signs left along a road or on a non-Roma house by one Rom to another. The most common ones consist of crossed sprigs (usually of different trees or shrubs) indicating, for example, a direction travelled.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Gipsies’ cant, a trail marked by handfuls of grass dropped at intervals.
  • n. See patrin.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Romani patrin ("leaf"), perhaps specifically from an inflected form like Vlax Romani pateryánsa.

Examples

  • She said that the trail was called patteran, because the gypsies of old were in the habit of making the marks with the leaves and branches of trees, placed in a certain manner.

    The Romany Rye

  • There is also another kind of patteran, which is more particularly adapted for the night; it is a cleft stick stuck at the side of the road, close by the hedge, with a little arm in the cleft pointing down the road which the band have taken, in the manner of a signpost; any stragglers who may arrive at night where cross-roads occur search for this patteran on the left-hand side, and speedily rejoin their companions.

    The Pocket George Borrow

  • She said that the trail was called patteran, because the gypsies of old were in the habit of making the marks with the leaves and branches of the trees, placed in a certain manner.

    The Romany Rye A Sequel to 'Lavengro'

  • Thus, on the ranch here, a patteran could be made of manzanita and madrono, of oak and spruce, of buckeye and alder, of redwood and laurel, of huckleberry and lilac.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • Two sprigs, crossed in certain ways and left upon the trail, compose the patteran.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • “What is the Romany patteran?” she broke off to ask.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • When the patteran was fashioned, he tossed it on the trail before him and noted that Selim passed over without treading upon it.

    CHAPTER XXI

  • She danced like a moth in a flame -- a wandering woman in the fire unquenchable that burns convention out of gipsy hearts, and makes the patteran -- the trail -- the only way worth while.

    The Eye of Zeitoon

  • It looks to me as if Will has claimed her by patteran* law.

    The Eye of Zeitoon

  • All that he had been able to think of was that he must get to her at once, follow the _patteran_ at top speed.

    Madcap

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