October 18, 2007
Meaning - act of bantering,joking,jesting,pleasantry.
During the 17th century, the word "banter" appeared in low slang.Initially it was used more for aggressive and vicious exchanges rather than mild or friendly exchange of teasing remarks. The first appearance of the word was seen in the play Madam Fickle,dated in 1676 by Thomas D'Urfey, in which Zechiel cries to his old brother "Banter him ,banter him Toby".
The notorious meaning of "Banter" actually was coined by Jonathan Swift in the famous article he wrote for The Tatler in 1710.In it he attacked what he called "The continual corruption of our English tongue". Same year he wrote about the word in his apology to The Tale of a Tub, that "This polite word of theirs was first borrowed from the bullies in White-Friars, then fell among the footmen and at last retired to the pedants; by whom it is applied as properly to the productions of wit as if I should apply it to Sir Isaac Newton's mathematics".
Source - http://www.worldwidewords.org