\ ˈpat How to pronounce pat (audio) \

Definition of pat

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1 : a light blow especially with the hand or a flat instrument
2 : a light tapping often rhythmical sound
3 : something (such as butter) shaped into a small flat usually square individual portion
pat on the back
: an expression of approval



Definition of pat (Entry 2 of 6)

: in a pat manner : aptly, perfectly has her part down pat


patted; patting

Definition of pat (Entry 3 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : to strike lightly with a flat instrument
2 : to flatten, smooth, or put into place or shape with light blows
3 : to tap or stroke gently with the hand to soothe, caress, or show approval

intransitive verb

: to strike or beat gently

Definition of pat (Entry 4 of 6)

1a : exactly suited to the purpose or occasion : apt
b : suspiciously appropriate : contrived a pat ending
2 : learned, mastered, or memorized exactly
4 : reduced to a simple or mechanical form : standard, trite pat answers

Definition of pat (Entry 5 of 6)


Definition of PAT (Entry 6 of 6)

point after touchdown

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Examples of pat in a Sentence

Noun She gave the dog a quick pat. Adverb after months of practicing for the competition, the cheerleaders have their moves down pat Verb The child gently patted the dog's head. He patted my knee and told me everything would be fine. He patted his hair down. She patted the dough into a square. He patted the lettuce dry with a paper towel. Adjective The movie's pat ending was a disappointment. His explanation was too pat to be believable.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The story is both pleasantly seamy and inconsequential, as pat and flimsy as a mad-science soap opera. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "A Lost Orson Welles TV Pilot That’s as Groundbreaking as “Citizen Kane”," 11 Dec. 2020 Refrigerate for 1 hour, then rinse off cure and herbs in a colander and pat gravlax dry with paper towel. Amy Rosen, Bon Appétit, "This Almost-Instant Lox is Ready in One Hour (!)," 28 Dec. 2020 As the receiver fell out of bounds, Lombardi moved forward, helped him up and gave Nailor both a push back onto the field and a pat on the helmet for a good route and catch. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football: What Mel Tucker is looking for in his next starting QB," 20 Dec. 2020 Much like the American people at large, who got $1,200 checks (if anything) and a pat on the rear for nine months of financial hell, the industry is being left out to dry by those who have the power to help it. Soleil Ho,, "A total restaurant apocalypse is coming. But it’s not inevitable," 7 Dec. 2020 Metal detectors and pat-downs reliably find guns and sharp metal instruments, but inmates are turning to nontraditional materials for weaponry. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Anoka County turns to $145K body scanner to reverse surge in jail drug smuggling," 20 Nov. 2020 Screening agents are wearing masks and face shields and changing gloves between pat-downs. Dallas News, "Thanksgiving week will push airport crowds to pandemic highs," 16 Nov. 2020 No passports or airport pat-downs required for any of the aforementioned, so sit back and savor your flight-free foray into French cuisine. Joanna O'leary, Chron, "Missing travel and craving adventurous cuisine? Take your palate on a trip to France," 12 Nov. 2020 Standing pat on pitching feels like the biggest risk of all. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Padres must chase down pitching, again," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The 2016 draft was the last time the Bengals stayed pat through all seven rounds. Tyler Dragon,, "Cincinnati Bengals going through 'last-minute preparations' as NFL Draft approaches," 21 Apr. 2020 To use, soak the disc about 15 minutes, pat dry, and snap in place. Jean Kressy,, "Brown sugar should stay soft. This canister can help," 2 Sep. 2019 Drain onions, pat dry, and add to tomatoes along with the parsley, dill, and mint. Christopher Kimball,, "Recipes: Three refreshing salads to beat the heat," 17 July 2019 When the grill is nice and hot, pat dry the scallops with a paper towel. Multiple Authors, House Beautiful, "The Sea Grill's Grilled Day Boat Sea Scallops," 1 May 2010 Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water to cool; pat dry. Bon Appetit, "Miso-Tahini Noodles with Asparagus and Tofu," 14 May 2018 Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Fox News, "Chef Mark Bailey's Last-Minute Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner!," 14 Feb. 2018 The use of police pat-downs declined as a result starting in late 2015, according to Cassell and Fowles. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Jeff Sessions’s claim that an ACLU settlement with Chicago caused murders to spike," 14 May 2018 The use of police pat-downs declined as a result starting in late 2015, according to Cassell and Fowles. Salvador Rizzo,, "Jeff Sessions' claim that an ACLU settlement with Chicago caused murders to spike," 14 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Do a little happy dance, pat yourself on the back, or treat yourself to a new pair of leggings. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "A Core Strength Workout You Can Do at Home," 30 Dec. 2020 Meticulously pat them dry after scrubbing and washing. Washington Post, "How to make crispy, golden potatoes, every time," 18 Dec. 2020 Clean mushrooms right before use with a very quick plunge in water and pat them dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Star Tribune, "Portobellos pack a punch as a meal on their own," 16 Dec. 2020 To be sure, even Mayfield wasn’t quick to pat himself on the back for his fifth straight interception-free game, and for his 156 passes without a pick over the last six games, during which the Browns are 5-1. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Baker Mayfield got his swagger back and it will serve him well as the 9-3 Browns hurtle toward the playoffs," 7 Dec. 2020 This feels like seeing your dad pat your mom's bum and wink. Gena Kaufman, Glamour, "27 Christmas Love Songs, Ranked in Terms of Their Mistletoe Potential," 2 Dec. 2020 Make the chicken: While the potatoes are roasting, pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Washington Post, "This whole herb-roasted chicken with Hasselback potatoes is a holiday-ready sheet-pan dinner," 10 Nov. 2020 The Swiftie sleuths can pat themselves on the back for another job well done. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Taylor Swift reveals beau Joe Alwyn is mysterious 'Folklore' contributor William Bowery," 25 Nov. 2020 For the rest of his life, strangers would pat him on the shoulder, buy him a drink, ask for a picture. Mike Finger,, "A decade later, Garrett Gilbert eyes another chance," 5 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead, the Pacers stood pat and took the big man out of Colorado. Matthew Glenesk, The Indianapolis Star, "Ranking Indiana Pacers' 10 worst NBA draft picks in history," 24 Nov. 2020 The top seven teams in the rankings stood pat this week with Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State among the top four spots. Matt Murschel,, "Florida remains at No. 6 in latest College Football Playoff rankings," 1 Dec. 2020 If Pat Riley does play a pat hand, there will be plenty of fire still simmering. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Can Heat find the correct complement to Bam Adebayo?," 25 Oct. 2020 Obama's pat self-justification as being too respectful of norms and traditions to take serious action. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Obama the pretender," 24 Nov. 2020 There were other moves, including adding Jamal Crawford and waiving guys who didn’t fit, but Jones mostly stood pat. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, "How GM James Jones quietly turned Phoenix Suns into a contender in the NBA West," 22 Nov. 2020 For the largely British ex-pat community, as well as loyal locals and tourists from all over, the reopening was welcome. Brian Melley, Star Tribune, "California pub tries to keep calm, carry on with virus rules," 20 Nov. 2020 Another ex-pat Aussie -- The Kid LAROI – is making an impression at the top end of the chart. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Kylie Minogue Is the ‘Disco’ Queen of Australia’s Albums Chart," 16 Nov. 2020 The Mustangs fell out of the AP poll after the loss, and the Aggies stood pat at No. 5. Dallas News, "AP college football poll (Nov. 15): Texas A&M remains at No. 5, SMU drops out after loss," 15 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pat


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1578, in the meaning defined above


1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1631, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pat


Middle English patte, probably of imitative origin

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Time Traveler for pat

Time Traveler

The first known use of pat was in the 15th century

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Statistics for pat

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pat


How to pronounce PAT (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pat

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: an act of lightly touching someone or something with your hand to show affection or approval
: a small, flat, usually square piece of something (such as butter)



English Language Learners Definition of pat (Entry 2 of 4)

: learned completely or perfectly



English Language Learners Definition of pat (Entry 3 of 4)

: to lightly touch (someone or something) with your hand usually several times in order to show affection or approval or to provide comfort
: to flatten, smooth, or shape (something) by lightly pressing on it with your hand
: to lightly press (something) several times until it is dry

English Language Learners Definition of pat (Entry 4 of 4)

disapproving : said or done without any real thought or effort to be truthful or original


\ ˈpat How to pronounce pat (audio) \
patted; patting

Kids Definition of pat

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: to tap or stroke gently with the open hand He stopped to pat the dog.



Kids Definition of pat (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a light tap with the open hand or a flat instrument She gave me a pat on the head.
2 : the sound of a pat or tap
3 : a small flat piece (as of butter)
patter; pattest

Kids Definition of pat (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : learned perfectly I had my lines in the play down pat.
2 : exactly suitable a pat answer
3 : not changing He stood pat against all arguments.

Kids Definition of pat.


Medical Definition of PAT

paroxysmal atrial tachycardia

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Comments on pat

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