pa·​tois | \ ˈpa-ˌtwä How to pronounce patois (audio) , ˈpä- How to pronounce patois (audio) \
plural patois\ ˈpa-​ˌtwäz How to pronounce patois (audio) , ˈpä-​ \

Definition of patois

1a : a dialect other than the standard or literary dialect
b : uneducated or provincial speech
2 : the characteristic special language of an occupational or social group : jargon

Examples of patois in a Sentence

the medical patois that the hospital staffers used among themselves was incomprehensible to me
Recent Examples on the Web Chet Hanks took a break from his troublesome patois imitations to offer a less racially insensitive but nearly as uncomfortable impersonation while stopping by Showtime's Ziwe over the weekend. Mike Miller,, 13 May 2022 Amusingly, that mural is between the restrooms, so people waiting in line can brush up on their patois. Susan Dunne,, 28 Jan. 2022 When Corbett arrived in 2005, his long hair, black leather jacket, penchant to drink more than sacramental wine and fluency in port patois endeared him to dockworkers. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 Newell lays it on a bit thick, his thick Caribbean patois verging into caricature at times. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 2 Dec. 2021 In this case Adrien Brody — fresh off his Best Actor Oscar win in 2003 for the Holocaust drama The Pianist — donning fake dreads and doing a woeful Jamaican patois while introducing Sean Paul. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 12 Oct. 2021 Populating the novel is the usual cast of characters, foremost among them the cop shop’s inimitable secretary, Agatino Catarella, who blends obsequiousness, prudery and verbal ineptitude into a patois all his own. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 In the patois of insurance, the winery will go bare into this year’s burning season, which experts predict to be especially fierce. New York Times, 18 July 2021 One of the main stumbling blocks of the (amazing) book, for many, is the Jamaican patois that the multitude of characters speak—so listening to them instead of reading them, to me, makes this audio version preferable to the actual book. Vogue, 12 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of patois

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for patois


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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Patois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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