\ 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


abbreviation (1)

Definition of pat (Entry 5 of 6)



abbreviation (2)

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 Chris Solari, Graham Couch and Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press EAST LANSING — Brian Lewerke spiked the ball and gave Connor Heyward a quick, low hand slap and a pat on the helmet. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Explaining how Michigan State, Mark Dantonio cracked in loss to Arizona State," 15 Sep. 2019 High fives, hugs, pats on the back could be seen from the kids. Fox News, "University of Tennessee turns bullied elementary school student's t-shirt design into official apparel," 8 Sep. 2019 For Bowlen’s children, there were handshakes, pats on the back and hugs. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Event to honor their father exceeds expectations for Pat Bowlen’s children," 18 June 2019 In 2011, Perry’s special session agenda included legislation preventing airport pat-downs by Transportation Security Administration officers. Gilbert Garcia,, "Why Texas needs a special session on guns," 6 Sep. 2019 During an interview, Tom stood next to the stall and Roo pressed his head against him, looking for pats or treats, perhaps. Mary Grace Keller,, "Retired thoroughbred racehorses find home in Taneytown, Maryland’s first sanctuary farm," 13 Sep. 2019 Searches and pat-downs can be invasive and traumatizing. Fortune, "Why More Clients Want Female Financial Advisers: The Broadsheet," 27 Aug. 2019 Fans electing not to consent to the metal detector screening or physical pat-down, along with bag search, will be denied entry into the stadium. Ed Masley, azcentral, "What you need to know about the Rolling Stones concert at State Farm Stadium," 20 Aug. 2019 The officer told Olivia that because of something the scanner had detected, a pat-down would be necessary. ProPublica, "When Transgender Travelers Walk Into Scanners, Invasive Searches Sometimes Wait on the Other Side," 26 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb 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 Once pork is room temperature, pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appetit, "Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Butternut Squash," 19 Mar. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After patting her skin dry, the model applies a foil sheet mask from Estee Lauder. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Model Lais Ribeiro's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 8 Aug. 2019 Pena pulled Isabella into the grass by her wrist and then patted out the flames with his hands. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Badly burned girl hopes to meet Taylor Swift after taking strength in her music," 2 May 2018 Turn the dough out onto it, patting it into a disk. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Your cup of coffee and these simple almond biscotti make a perfect match," 11 Sep. 2019 The officer patted Chappelle down before bringing him into his car, and that’s when the trouble started. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Oakland man who brought gun to meeting with parole officer gets 15 months," 10 Sep. 2019 To seal in the hydration, Bowe recommends patting your face with a micellar water, like Simple’s cleansing water to pack in extra moisture before bed. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Can You Prevent Dry Skin? 4 Expert Tips for Chilly Days Ahead," 13 Sep. 2019 While the beans rest, soak the scallions in a medium bowl of ice water until crisp, about 5 minutes, then lift out and gently pat dry with paper towels. Los Angeles Times, "Matt Molina of Hippo in Highland Park makes perfect green beans," 11 Sep. 2019 Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels., "Recipe: While the fast food giants are duking it out over chicken sandwiches, we’re making our own - The Boston Globe," 10 Sep. 2019 Remove the mackerel from the solution and pat dry with a paper towel. Michael A. Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Unrushed rice is key to success with homemade sushi," 6 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While passing through airport security, he was subjected to extensive searches, pat-downs and chemical testing. ... Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Muslims hope judge's ruling against terror watch list ends harassment by feds," 9 Sep. 2019 Top with the remaining turkey and gently pat to seal the edges and create a neat uniform shape. Sheryl Julian,, "Recipe: Turkey meatloaf hides a surprise center of ham and cheese, which melts as it bakes," 3 Sep. 2019 During a pat search, the suspect pulled away and took a fighting stance. Jake Richardson, The Mercury News, "Campbell crime report for the week of Sept. 6," 29 Aug. 2019 Its pat chronological presentation has the feel of an introductory course, and the show displays little engagement with either the theoretical challenges of painting or with feminist critiques of American high abstraction. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Lee Krasner, Hiding in Plain Sight," 19 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, pat chicken thighs and drumsticks dry; season with kosher salt and black pepper. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Blackberry-Glazed Chicken," 5 Aug. 2019 Ireland has several native teams, but Cole’s team is part of the non-native/ex-pat Irish division that plays in its own country first and then, once every three years, competes in the world championships. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Twin Cities women‘s camogie team wins world championship in Ireland," 3 Aug. 2019 Schar recalled how all day, security had searched every visitor’s bag and conducted pat-downs. Alice Yin,, "2 boys, 1 man stabbed outside Navy Pier after Fourth of July fireworks; 17 others injured in ‘stampede’ following false reports of gunfire," 5 July 2019 Wide receiver targets The Texans, so far, have stayed pat with WR and a lot of attention will be paid to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller coming off of injuries. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley's Texans 2019 training camp preview," 23 July 2019

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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Statistics for pat

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for pat

The first known use of pat was in the 15th century

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on pat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pat

Spanish Central: Translation of pat

Nglish: Translation of pat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pat for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pat

Comments on pat

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


something of little or no value

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