pa·​tois ˈpa-ˌtwä How to pronounce patois (audio) ˈpä- How to pronounce patois (audio)
plural patois ˈpa-ˌtwäz How to pronounce patois (audio)
: a dialect other than the standard or literary dialect
: uneducated or provincial speech
: 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 Sasse’s words sometimes tumble out in a kind of techno-futurist patois that can be hard to follow. Michael Sokolove, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Elling’s singing and hipster patois playfulness between songs and Hunter’s sui generis guitar-playing (which supplanted any need for a bassist) held everything together. Bill Beuttler,, 6 Aug. 2023 And Peaky Blinders’s Kingsley Ben-Adir has put on Marley’s iconic locs and Jamaican patois as the reggae legend in the first trailer for the film. Vulture, 6 July 2023 You can be forgiven for not being aware of this particular patois, however; most records of its usage are a century or more old. Frances Vinall, Washington Post, 2 June 2023 Both actors are excellent, building complex characters from the rough urban patois that Ms. Nwandu provides without getting purple, even while approaching a kind of street poetry. Jesse Green, New York Times, 22 Aug. 2021 The thick patois of characters throughout the series may require some American viewers to use closed captioning. Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2021 The former paints vivid scenes with the era’s Chicano patois; the latter uses stats and interviews to damn a racist city and praise the Mexican Americans who nevertheless succeeded. Boris Kachka, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2023 Their exchanges often, too, featured an archly nerdy scientific patois., 28 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'patois.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of patois was in 1643

Dictionary Entries Near patois

Cite this Entry

“Patois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on patois

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