from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To tap gently with the open hand or with something flat.
  • intransitive verb To stroke lightly as a gesture of affection. synonym: caress.
  • intransitive verb To mold by tapping gently with the hands or a flat implement.
  • intransitive verb To run or walk with a tapping sound.
  • intransitive verb To hit something or against something gently or lightly.
  • noun A light gentle stroke or tap.
  • noun The sound made by a light stroke or tap or by light footsteps.
  • noun A small mass shaped by or as if by patting.
  • idiom (pat on the back) An expression or gesture of praise or approval.
  • adjective Suitable; fitting.
  • adjective Fitting or satisfactory in a superficial or contrived way, especially in being trite or glib.
  • adjective Games Being a poker hand that is strong enough to make drawing cards unlikely to improve it.
  • adverb Readily or perfectly as a result of memorization or familiarization.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A light quick blow or stroke with the hand or the fingers.
  • noun Patter.
  • Fitly; conveniently; just in the nick; exactly; readily; fluently.
  • Apt; fit; convenient; exactly suitable as to either time or place; ready; fluent.
  • Pert; brisk; lively.
  • noun A lump, as of butter, molded or pressed into some regular shape.
  • noun A Scotch preterit and past participle of put.
  • noun A Scotch form of pot.
  • noun A common name for an Irishman. Compare Biddy.
  • Just at the present point: just there; without acting or moving: used in the following phrase.
  • Hence— In politics, to adhere obstinately to an existing status or policy, refusing to consider proposals of change or reform; stand still, in a blind or stubborn refusal to disturb existing conditions when they are profitable to one's party or one's self.
  • noun In India, indigo-plants cut off within a foot of the ground and made into bundles for delivery at the factories.
  • noun An East Indian name for jute-fiber.
  • To strike gently with the fingers or hand; tap.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun patent
  • noun knitting pattern
  • noun The sound of a light slap or tap with a soft flat object, especially of a footstep
  • noun A light tap or slap, especially with the hands
  • noun A flattish lump of soft matter, especially butter or dung.
  • verb To (gently) tap the flat of one's hand on a person or thing.
  • verb To hit lightly and repeatedly with the flat of the hand to make smooth or flat
  • verb Australia, New Zealand To stroke or fondle (an animal).
  • verb To gently rain.
  • adjective timely, suitable, apt, opportune, ready for the occasion; especially of things spoken
  • adjective trite, being superficially complete, lacking originality
  • adverb opportunely, in a timely or suitable way.
  • adverb Perfectly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adverb completely or perfectly
  • verb pat or squeeze fondly or playfully, especially under the chin
  • adjective exactly suited to the occasion
  • verb hit lightly
  • noun the sound made by a gentle blow
  • noun a light touch or stroke
  • adjective having only superficial plausibility


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English, a blow, perhaps of imitative origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From pat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *patten, alteration (with loss of medial l) of Middle English platten, pletten ("to pat"), from Old English plættan ("to buffet, strike, slap, smack, to give a sounding blow"), from Proto-Germanic *plat- (“to strike, beat”), from Proto-Indo-European *b(e)lad-, *b(e)led- (“to strike, beat”). Cognate with Middle Dutch platten, pletten ("to strike, bruise, crush, rub"), German platzen ("to split, burst, break up"), Bavarian patzen ("to pat"), Swedish plätta, pjätta ("to pat, tap"). For loss of l, compare patch for platch; pate for plate, etc. See plat.


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  • Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man.....;-)

    February 9, 2008