Definition of patch in English:

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Pronunciation: /paCH/


1A piece of cloth or other material used to mend or strengthen a torn or weak point.
Example sentences
  • For extra attention, select a cardigan with small pockets or leather patches on the elbows.
  • All I need is a cheap tweed coat with leather patches at my elbows and I could be dodgy salesman of the year.
  • The tan blazer he was wearing had gray leather elbow patches.
1.1A pad or shield worn over a sightless or injured eye or an eye socket.
Example sentences
  • But, you can still pick out a sexy patch to cover up the gaping hole in your head, which thank goodness was discovered after we dilated your eyes!
  • He was allegedly carjacked by Mr. Nichols in the parking garage and you can see that he is wearing a patch over his eye from the injuries in that incident.
  • He wore a black patch over his left eye while his good eye, hungry with greed, stared at Hitomi in a frightening star.
cover, eye patch, covering, pad
1.2A piece of cloth sewn onto clothing as a badge or distinguishing mark.
Example sentences
  • Following that meeting, Pershing directed all American divisions to design and wear their own distinctive shoulder patches.
  • The Marines don't have all the funky badges and patches that the Army has, so they don't have the same issue.
  • A couple of weeks later I was on the U.S. Army home page and noticed a link to unit insignia and patches.
1.3 Computing A small piece of code inserted into a program to improve its functioning or to correct an error.
Example sentences
  • SE Linux is comprised of a kernel patch and patches to utility programs such as login and cron.
  • CERT's advisory contains a links to patches from software distros that contain OpenSSH code and to OpenSSH project's own update.
  • I also assume the reader is comfortable applying source patches and compiling programs.
1.4An adhesive piece of drug-impregnated material worn on the skin so that the drug can be absorbed gradually over a period of time.
Example sentences
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives are also available as an adhesive skin patch, which is worn for three weeks out of every four.
  • United States approves contraceptive skin patch: The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first transdermal skin patch contraceptive.
  • The contraceptive patch can cause skin irritation (itching and soreness) in some women.
1.5A part of something marked out from the rest by a particular characteristic: his hair was combed forward to hide a growing bald patch
More example sentences
  • Sure enough, he had the typical red blotchy patches, the fever, the harsh cough, the sore red eyes.
  • Watching her shake her head, he noticed to bright patches of red on her already bruised neck.
  • I looked down at the used bandage in her hand, and saw it had a large patch of bright redness stained in the middle of it.
blotch, mark, spot, smudge, speckle, smear, stain, streak, blemish
informal splotch
1.6A small area or amount of something: patches of bluebells in the grass
More example sentences
  • His crop was planted over a wide area in small patches with a fair amount of tree cover.
  • It does best in disturbed forest patches with large amounts of edge or open canopy.
  • Using the maps as a guide, farmers can treat just the weed patches with minimal amounts of the appropriate chemical.
1.7 historical A small disk of black silk attached to the face, especially as worn by women in the 17th and 18th centuries for adornment.
Example sentences
  • The English and French gentry used patch boxes in which to keep beauty patches as well as patches to cover pox scars.
  • During the Enlightenment, fashionable dress, masks and masquerading, corsetry, and the wearing of beauty patches were part of everyday life.
2A small piece of ground, especially one used for gardening: they spent Sundays digging their vegetable patch
More example sentences
  • There is no smarter way to edge up a vegetable patch or kitchen garden than with box hedging.
  • There was much more room outside, with outbuildings where hay was stored, pigsties, a flower garden and a vegetable patch.
  • The plan is to dig two vegetable patches and a flower bed, and then construct a new section of fence to give some privacy - today was just a digging day.
plot, area, piece, strip, tract, parcel;
bed, allotment, lot, plat
2.1British informal An area for which someone is responsible or in which they operate: we didn’t want any secret organizations on our patch
More example sentences
  • A radical shake up of rural policing in the district will see the return of local Bobbies patrolling a beat and being responsible safety and security on their patch.
  • Every now and then, an experience would serve as a reminder that intelligent marine mammals can be aggressive as well as friendly; that you must operate with respect in what is their patch.
  • One woman on my patch called police fifty times in twelve months, and they attended every time. That's fifty crimes of violence for the politicians to wave about.
3 informal A period of time seen as a distinct unit with a characteristic quality: he may have been going through a bad patch
More example sentences
  • You have to do that to get the best out of him, but he's just having a bad patch at the moment and we expect him to bounce back soon.
  • But you always have a bad patch in a season and we are having ours now, hopefully.
  • He also had a bad patch over a holiday in Majorca as a guest of media people, though he broke no rules and the story was puffed up far beyond its importance.
period, time, spell, phase, stretch
4A temporary electrical or telephone connection.
Example sentences
  • We also called the admiral's office and had a cellphone patch directly to his aide.
4.1A preset configuration or sound-data file in an electronic musical instrument, especially a synthesizer.
Example sentences
  • Lodder opts for some slightly cheesy synth patches on occasion, but he does a good job of glueing the whole together with big, churchy organ chords and squelchy analogue synths.
  • I tried all of the reverb patches on drums, vocals, electric guitars and keyboards and found them to have good dynamic responses.
  • We're talking five-minute patches of overdriven Moog, bass-thumping and off-time drumbeats.


[with object]
1Mend or strengthen (fabric or an item of clothing) by putting a piece of material over a hole or weak point in it: her jeans were neatly patched
More example sentences
  • Traditionally, patching fabric together was about recycling.
  • She patched her clothing and then let Mike buy her lunch at the store.
  • The dark gray trousers were patched at the knee, while his linen shirt and wool jacket showed signs of wear and less-than-skilled repairs.
mend, repair, put a patch on, sew (up), stitch (up)
1.1 Medicine Place a patch over (a good eye) in order to encourage a lazy eye to work.
Example sentences
  • The perioperative nurse applies another dose of topical anesthetic drops to the surgical eye and may patch the nonsurgical eye.
  • By patching the good eye, you're effectively making someone use their lazy eye.
  • Both groups of children in the study performed one hour a day of ‘near’ work, such as coloring, tracing, reading, and crafts, while their eye was patched.
1.2 Computing Correct, enhance, or modify (a routine or program) by inserting a patch.
Example sentences
  • Until this year, newly found security holes in operating systems and programs were patched before viruses and worms could be written to exploit them.
  • Do you plan to release another patch before the expansion or will the expansion also patch the main program?
  • Many vendors include vulnerable Sendmail servers as part of their software distributions, hence the need to patch Unix and Linux systems as well as dedicated mail servers.
1.3 (usually be patched) Cover small areas of (a surface) with something different, causing it to appear variegated: the grass was patched with sandy stretches
More example sentences
  • Touch up jobs on varnished, lacquered or painted surfaces are likely to appear patched.
  • The scars we moved past are striking, the limestone is angled at 45 degrees and popular with crows, patched with lichens and softened by mosses.
1.4 (patch someone/something up) informal Treat someone’s injuries or repair the damage to something, especially hastily: they did their best to patch up the gaping wounds
More example sentences
  • The ship's medics tended to our wounds, patching us up just as the ship was undergoing repairs.
  • Pinned down under bombardment outside the strategic town of Cambes, evacuation of the wounded was not easy so Jack was patched up and restored to duty.
  • Larne was towed to Poros and beached, and there she stayed for three months while she was patched up.
repair, mend, fix hastily, do a makeshift repair on
1.5 (patch something together) Construct something hastily from unsuitable components: lean-tos patched together from aluminum siding and planks figurative they were trying to patch together an arrangement for cooperation
More example sentences
  • Instead, components are patched together just to keep the system running.
  • People's lives are patched together by so many different forces - language, chance, class, trauma - that the entire city begins to resemble the Frankenstein-type monster who will lumber along the streets.
  • Carlow began to show signs of patching their game together as Waterford's defence became less than convincing.
1.6 (patch something up) informal Restore peaceful or friendly relations after a quarrel or dispute: any ill feeling could be patched up with a phone call they sent him home to patch things up with his wife
More example sentences
  • Desperately unhappy, Huey recruits his best friend Aldo in an ill-advised scheme to patch things up with his ex-wife. The prospects for success seem unlikely.
  • Yet now he is going to jail for seven years and has only 24 hours to try and patch things up with his father, hang out with his oldest friends and try and find out who tipped off the cops.
  • If you're Shaun, you grab a cricket bat, gather your loved ones, and make a run for your favourite pub, hoping all the while that you just might patch things up with your ex-girlfriend on what's probably your last day on earth.
reconcile, make up, settle, remedy, put to rights, rectify, clear up, set right, make good, resolve, square
2Connect by a temporary electrical, radio, or telephonic connection: Ralph had patched her through to the meeting by walkie-talkie
More example sentences
  • Although consumers still need to wait for the phone company to patch their line into Covad's equipment at the central office there is no other delay.
  • Then in an ideal world we could perhaps patch this into a wireless network, so that passing geeks could genuinely play Tetris on the side of the building from their laptops.
  • The dispatcher can arrange conference calls via radio or by satellite datalink if we're over the ocean, patching us through to a doctor, maintenance facility or security specialist.


not a patch on

British informal Greatly inferior to: he no longer looked so handsome—he wasn’t a patch on Peter
More example sentences
  • The problem is their PR machine is not a patch on that of Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • It was OK, but not a patch on what I'd seen live. I loyally bought the next couple of singles, but quickly lost interest.
  • It's not a patch on what I have at the moment, but perhaps it'll grow on me.



Example sentences
  • No matter how sacred the Bakers make the ‘sorority of quiltmakers,’ the ‘holy patchers’, that very appeal to sacredness would keep Mama in her place.
  • Wet the surfaces as with concrete patcher and fill deep cracks with sand to within 1/4 inch of the surface, or pour in the grout in layers no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • He's been a formworker, concreter, paver, labourer, patcher and ganger, driven forklifts and all-terrain vehicles on construction sites across the northern state.


Late Middle English: perhaps from a variant of Old French pieche, dialect variant of piece 'piece'.

  • cross from Old English:

    The word cross was initially used in English to refer to a monument in the form of a cross. The source is Old Norse kross, which in turn goes back to crux, a Latin word that gave us crucial, crucible (Late Middle English) originally a night light or the sort that might be hung in front of a crucifix (Middle English), and excruciating.

    People cross their fingers to ward off bad luck. What they are doing is making a miniature ‘sign of the cross’, whether they know it or not. To cross someone's palm with silver is to pay them for a favour or service. It probably comes from the idea of tracing the shape of a cross on a fortune-teller's palm with a silver coin before you are told what the future has in store.

    In 49 bc Julius Caesar, having defeated the Gauls, brought his army south to fight a civil war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. When he crossed the Rubicon, a small river marking the boundary between Italy and the Roman province of Gaul, he was committed to war, having broken the law forbidding him to take his troops out of his province. Cross meaning ‘annoyed’ dates back to the 17th century. It derives from the nautical idea of a wind blowing across the bow of your ship rather than from behind, which produced the senses ‘contrary, opposing’, and ‘adverse, opposed’, and then ‘annoyed, bad-tempered’. Crosspatch (early 18th century) is based on the obsolete word patch meaning ‘fool, clown’, perhaps from Italian pazzo ‘madman’.

Words that rhyme with patch

attach, batch, catch, crosshatch, detach, hatch, latch, match, mismatch, natch, outmatch, scratch, thatch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: patch

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