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Alternative forms[edit]


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


patteran (plural patterans)

  1. 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.
    • 1890, Rudyard Kipling, The Gipsy Trail, Boston: Alfred Bartlett. (1909), verse 8,
      Follow the Romany Patteran / Sheer to the Austral Light, / Where the besom of God is the wild South wind, / Sweeping the sea-floors white.
    • 2006, Cormac McCarthy, The Road,
      They began to come upon from time to time small cairns of rock by the roadside. They were signs in gypsy language, lost patterans.



  • Follow the Romany Patteran by Virginia Teitge, The English Journal: Vol. 29, No. 3 (March, 1940), pp. 206-211.
  • Along the Gypsy Trails in the Mountains; Sign of the "Patteran" by Which the Amateur Seeks a Camping Place for a Secure Night's Rest — Joy of the care-free Life in the Summer., The New York Times: August 11, 1912, pX2.