pa·​thet | \ ˈpä-ˌtet How to pronounce pathet (audio) \
variants: or less commonly patet
plural pathet also patet

Definition of pathet

: any of six modes in Javanese gamelan music characterized by specific cadential patterns, emphasized notes, and melodic formulas in the pelog and slendro tunings A large variety of pathet are used in Javanese and Balinese gamelan, each of them based on pitch material extracted from either the pelog scale or the slendro scale.— Jan Laurens Hartong, Musical Terms Worldwide, 2006

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of pathet

1940, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pathet

Time Traveler for pathet

Time Traveler

The first known use of pathet was in 1940

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pathet

Cite this Entry

“Pathet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

Comments on pathet

What made you want to look up pathet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!