\ 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 For those who found the kitty, give yourself an extra pat on the back. Christy Piña, Woman's Day, "Can You Find the Cat Among the Bats?," 30 Oct. 2020 If the legislature decides to give voters a pat on the head for doing a good job, the measure becomes law. Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times, "Slavery, Uber and voters’ power are on the ballot in states’ voter initiatives," 30 Oct. 2020 This is a pat on the back for the job OSU coach Louie Quintana is doing, and something of shock to see his underdog program ranked ahead of Oregon, the women’s national champion as recently as 2016. oregonlive, "Galen Rupp says he is ready race in Friday’s half marathon near Eugene: Oregon track & field rundown," 29 Oct. 2020 After his complaint went public, the TSA announced that officers would be required to change their gloves after every passenger pat-down or carry-on bag inspection. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "More people flying? TSA hits screens 1 million daily passengers for first time since pandemic began," 19 Oct. 2020 If a White Claw is a gentle pat on the head, a Negroni is a punch in the mouth. Washington Post, "Yes, you can: These 16 cocktails are actually worth popping open," 19 Oct. 2020 Bieber was overcome with emotion at the end of the song -- remaining bent over with his microphone until Chance the Rapper reached out with a supportive pat on the back. Marika Gerken, CNN, "Justin Bieber gives an emotional performance on 'SNL' with Chance the Rapper," 18 Oct. 2020 There's no photo ID required, no ticket confirmation, no pat-downs in security lines. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Rogue pilots trafficked a billion dollars in cartel drugs across US while no one watched," 2 Oct. 2020 Kevin Stefanski also praised Beckham for making four catches for first downs, but Beckham (4-of-6 targets, 59 yards) didn’t want a pat on the back for that. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Rashard Higgins not in Browns’ doghouse; Odell Beckham Jr. takes pride in breaking up picks," 2 Oct. 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 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 Just don’t pat them on the back about their early success. Brent Zwerneman,, "Dan Moore Jr. plays big part in success of Texas A&M’s offensive line," 29 Oct. 2020 Not these closed-door meetings where nothing happens except current leaders pat each other on the back and sweep issues under the rug. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County Sheriff candidates discuss priorities for curbing crime," 2 Oct. 2020 Place one of the slabs of ribs on the foil, sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the steak seasoning, and use your hands to pat it into the meat. Marian Bull, WSJ, "The Best Ribs Are Michelada Ribs," 24 Sep. 2020 Rinse then pat the chicken dry, including the cavity, with several sheets of paper towels. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Want a dish that keeps on giving? Roast a chicken.," 23 Sep. 2020 Once the squash is cool, drain it, and pat the pieces dry with paper towels. Lisa Cericola, Southern Living, "How To Freeze Squash," 4 Sep. 2020 But the tennis world did nothing but pat her on the back and validate her stance. Dave Seminara, National Review, "Tennis Pauses to Protest," 30 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 All this might sound at first like documentary boilerplate, except that Wiseman, who turned 90 in January and is well into his sixth decade of filmmaking, could scarcely be less interested in generic beats or pat conclusions. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Frederick Wiseman returns to his Boston hometown in the magnificent ‘City Hall’," 27 Oct. 2020 After the ’06 championship, Pat Riley stood pat and didn’t make any moves. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Can Heat find the correct complement to Bam Adebayo?," 25 Oct. 2020 But describing what’s happening now as simply a red-state surge would be too pat. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "The U.S. Is Sleepwalking Into an Election-Day Virus Surge," 22 Oct. 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

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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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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