pat·​sy ˈpat-sē How to pronounce patsy (audio)
plural patsies
: a person who is easily manipulated or victimized : pushover

Example Sentences

They treated us like a bunch of patsies. an Internet newbie who's the perfect patsy for a cyber scam
Recent Examples on the Web Say hello to Graham Flynn (Colin Moss), congressional aide and unwitting patsy. Tanya Melendez,, 17 Apr. 2023 Collins also sought to tie Allred to national Democrats like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; accused the incumbent of pushing policies harmful to Texas businesses; and described him as a patsy for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Tom Benning, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2020 Tennessee showed up and played the role of patsy. John Canzano, oregonlive, 20 Mar. 2021 The simple plot of Stallone’s working-class fairy tale is that Rocky, as the patsy in a promotion stunt, gets a shot at the heavyweight title held by a tycoon in trunks here called Apollo Creed but satirically modeled, in all his extravagant and lucrative showmanship, on Muhammad Ali. Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2023 There has to be the patsy. NBC News, 26 Nov. 2021 Or Viktor Bout, an innocent patsy, set up in some hypocritical conspiracy by dastardly Western powers. Matt Potter, Time, 9 Dec. 2022 Your average hip-hop head may take one look at the self-deprecating, yet oddly charismatic, headliner (modestly outfitted in a white tee and cargos) and write him off as a patsy. Spin Staff, SPIN, 31 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History


perhaps from Italian pazzo fool

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of patsy was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near patsy

Cite this Entry

“Patsy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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