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 The problem is, the Buffaloes paid a physical price for not scheduling patsies. oregonlive, "It’s time for the Oregon Ducks to make a statement: Issues & Answers," 11 Oct. 2019 Their traits are parceled out on a one-per-customer basis: Humphrey’s a patsy, King a worrier, Carmichael a hothead and Wallace a weasel. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Great Society,’ Another Presidential Nightmare," 1 Oct. 2019 Laughably, Florida ended up playing Division I-AA patsy Montana State the season after dropping Miami, winning the game 73-0 and the rest is history. Mike Bianchi,, "Gators shouldn’t play 'Canes every year — if they’re serious about playing a national schedule | Commentary," 20 Aug. 2019 Democrats will try to cast Cornyn as a patsy for President Donald Trump and hope that anti-Trump sentiment outside the core Republican base dooms the incumbent senator. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Teen calls ICE treatment 'inhumane,' Senate hopeful MJ Hegar in Dallas, Mueller testimony, Texas' redistricting path cleared," 25 July 2019 In the federal case, the apparent patsy picked to take the rap for four unsolved 2013 burglaries was a black Haitian American 16-year-old who lived with his family in a duplex on Northwest 12th Court. Charles Rabin, Jay Weaver And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on blacks, probe found," 12 July 2018 The Baltimore Orioles have become baseball’s patsies this season, entering Monday with a six-game losing streak and the worst record in the majors. New York Times, "Split Doubleheader Costs Yankees Ground in A.L. East Race," 9 July 2018 Like Paul, D’Antoni is affixed with an easy label, regular-season visionary and postseason patsy. Lee Jenkins,, "Space City: How Faith Fuels the Rockets' Explosive Offense," 1 May 2018 The parable of the innocent candidate, who is hired as a patsy in the political ruckus and turns out, annoyingly, to possess a conscience, is a cinematic staple. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "“This Is Our Land” and “Le Corbeau”," 5 July 2010

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

Statistics for patsy

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for patsy

The first known use of patsy was in 1899

See more words from the same year

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).


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!