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

  • n. A plate, usually of gold or silver, that is used to hold the host during the celebration of the Eucharist. Also called patina1.
  • n. A plate or shallow dish, especially an artifact from an ancient civilization.
  • n. A thin disk of or resembling metal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The plate used to hold the host during the Eucharist.
  • n. Any shallow dish found in an archaeological site.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plate.
  • n. The place on which the consecrated bread is placed in the Eucharist, or on which the host is placed during the Mass. It is usually small, and formed as to fit the chalice, or cup, as a cover.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A broad shallow dish; a bowl.
  • n. Eccles., a plate or flat dish; in the communion service of certain liturgical churches, the plate on which the consecrated bread is placed.
  • n. A plate, as of metal.
  • n. An obsolete form of patten.
  • n. An iron plate used in making plate-armor.


Middle English, from Old French patene, from Medieval Latin patina, from Latin, pan, from Greek patanē, platter; see petə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French patene, from Latin patīna, from Ancient Greek πατάνη (patánē). (Wiktionary)



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  • ""... Also a silver paten and chalice, a wooden crucifix, a silver wafer box, the Epistles, the Gospels, and the regimental colors of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Seventh Battalion," he read."
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, p 4

    July 2, 2010

  • "It was furnished with pine cupboards in which altar clothes and vestments were stored. Nearby, on a long table, were laid out silver patens for the communion."
    - 'The Colour Of Blood', Brian Moore.

    January 3, 2008