Definition of patois in English:


Line breaks: pat¦ois
Pronunciation: /ˈpatwɑː

noun (plural same /-wɑːz/)

  • 1The dialect of a particular region, especially one with low status in relation to the standard language of the country: the nurse talked to me in a patois that even Italians would have had difficulty in understanding
    More example sentences
    • Thus, a Frenchman who spoke Breton and French would not be considered bilingual because Breton is of low status and considered a patois rather than a language.
    • Today I wanted to talk about Bajan as a dialect or language or patois or whatever you wish to call it.
    • Corsican was designated as a patois, a provincial dialect.
    vernacular, dialect, local parlance, local speech/talk/usage/idiom/slang/tongue, local variety, regional language, non-standard language/variety, jargon, argot, patter, cant, -speak
    informal (local) lingo
  • 1.1The jargon or informal speech used by a particular social group: the raunchy patois of inner-city kids
    More example sentences
    • We have 1984 today; even if not in the form described by Orwell; since newspeak is replaced by the patois of the gang leaders and international body smugglers.
    • How do you develop a realistic-sounding slang patois?
    • At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner-city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois.


mid 17th century: French, literally 'rough speech', perhaps from Old French patoier 'treat roughly', from patte 'paw'.

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