pat·​sy | \ ˈpat-sē How to pronounce patsy (audio) \
plural patsies

Definition of patsy

: a person who is easily manipulated or victimized : pushover

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for patsy


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of patsy in a Sentence

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 Few were persuaded, and the thread descended into conspiracies, including that Sayoc was a patsy in a Democratic National Committee scheme to discredit conservatives., "How a group that began by sharing racist memes, violent fantasies on Facebook became a force in Arizona politics," 1 Oct. 2020 Indeed, what if the whole lurid rap sheet has been an elaborate set-up, with Nero as history’s patsy? Gaia Squarci, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New, Nicer Nero," 18 Sep. 2020 Technology has emerged as something of a patsy for the broader problems of unemployment systems. NBC News, "A 'perfect storm' for chaos: Unemployment system's failures were a long time coming," 23 Apr. 2020 Actor David Oyelowo gets a rare comic lead as the film’s title character, a sweet-natured and naive corporate patsy named Harold Soyinka. Ty Burr,, "‘Gringo’ is a twisty dark comedy piled high with great actors," 8 Mar. 2018 In Carthage, that means identifying a local to serve as his straw man (and potential patsy), settling eventually on good old boy Tyler Lee, who bartends at a bikini club, and his good Christian wife Chalene, she of the bake sales and six children. Tod Goldberg, USA TODAY, "Review: Steven Wright's 'The Coyotes of Carthage' is a crackerjack debut political novel," 14 Apr. 2020 The Crimson Tide still has the SEC’s traditional, late-season patsy game waiting, which for Alabama this year is against Western Carolina. oregonlive, "Almost every Pac-12 game is up for grabs, and that is a good thing: Issues & Answers," 30 Sep. 2019 These senators already look like patsies and enablers. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "John Bolton’s Book Is Making Fools of Trump’s Republican Enablers," 29 Jan. 2020 But beating New Mexico and UNLV was padding the record against two league patsies. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Lunch Special: If Broncos QB Brandon Allen keeps winning, will Drew Lock not play this season?," 4 Nov. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of patsy

1899, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for patsy

perhaps from Italian pazzo fool

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about patsy

Time Traveler for patsy

Time Traveler

The first known use of patsy was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Statistics for patsy

Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Patsy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for patsy


How to pronounce patsy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of patsy

chiefly US, informal : a foolish person who is easily tricked or cheated

More from Merriam-Webster on patsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for patsy

Comments on patsy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!