verb (pats, patting, patted)[with object]
- 1Touch quickly and gently with the flat of the hand: he patted him consolingly on the shoulder [with object and complement]: a nurse washed her all over and patted her dryMore example sentences
tap, slap lightly, clap, touch
- I quickly patted down my pockets and, finding nothing, I frantically checked the pavement around me.
- If the baby stops breathing, a nurse will stimulate the baby to start breathing by patting him or touching the soles of his feet.
- He patted me quickly on the back then scuttled off down the far end of the cat walk.
- 1.1Draw attention to (something) by tapping it gently: he patted the bench beside him and I sat downMore example sentences
- Josh pats his waist to draw attention to the belt securely surrounding it.
- He pointed to a vacant bench and sat down, patting the space beside him to indicate where I should be.
- Chloe pulled the bench out from under the piano and sat down, patting the space beside her.
- 1.2Mold into shape or put in position with gentle taps: she patted down the earth in each potMore example sentences
- Press chocolate in the shape, lightly pat on top to push in every groove of the mould.
- Straw had to be cut, trimmed and tied as a shaker for the holy water, stick butter patted into shapes and all the foodstuff bought for the breakfast.
- Summer said anxiously, patting her straight blond hair into place and batting her eyes rapidly.
nounBack to top
- 1A light stroke with the hand: giving him a friendly pat on the arm, she went off to join the othersMore example sentences
tap, light blow, clap, touch
- He gave her a quick kiss and a quick pat on my shoulder before he left, leaving Crystal and I staring across the table at each other.
- Desa gave him a friendly pat on the arm, then rejoined her ‘friend’ in the back of the group.
- Scotty gives Johnny a friendly pat on the arm before leaving the room.
- 2A compact mass of soft material: a pat of butterMore example sentences
- A pat of butter was melted in the pan, sufficient in quantity to thoroughly lubricate the whole of its surface, and leave a coating of moisture about an eighth of an inch deep over all.
- Put a pat of butter on each slice of bread (one slice per person).
- We were bought a complimentary plate of various breads to share, with a pat of butter and a little bowl of the most beautiful looking, vibrant orange marmalade.
a pat on the back
- An expression of approval or congratulation: they deserve a pat on the back for a job well doneMore example sentences
- He congratulated me with a pat on the back, a flush spreading across his face.
- We hope all those publishers who turned the book down give themselves a pat on the back for yet another job well done.
- For finishing first place in a Scottish Hillrally you receive a hearty round of applause and a pat on the back.
pat someone on the back
- Express approval of or admiration for someone: she needs her own claque to applaud and pat her on the backMore example sentences
- The cars' occupants hooted their approval and patted Chad on the back for his bravery.
- It was discussed and approved and we were patted on the back.
- And there's just the two of us in the room, as he pats me on the back to congratulate me on my unarguably well-delivered line.
pat someone down
- (Of a police officer or security official) pass the hands over someone’s clothing in a search for concealed items such as weapons or illegal drugs.More example sentences
- When police officers arrived, a passer-by pointed out where the man had run off to; the officers found him and patted him down.
- Then the two airmen led the suspect away to the hood of a patrol car, where they patted him down for weapons and drugs.
- John patted him down, but found nothing.
late Middle English (as a noun denoting a blow with something flat): probably imitative. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.
- Simple and somewhat glib or unconvincing: instead of enlightened minds I found prejudice and pat answersMore example sentences
glib, simplistic, facile, unconvincing
- All you have are pat answers and glib retorts that turn out, on ten seconds' worth of thought, to be mindless platitudes.
- There are no glib, pat answers that will provide comfort to people of faith in the face of such an overwhelming, needless tragedy, says Christian.
- The reason this makes me want to wash my hands of humanity forever, even though I'm sure the person that says it means no harm by spouting this kind of pat answer.
adverbBack to top
- see down1.
- Stick stubbornly to one’s opinion or decision: many ranchers stood pat with the old strains of cattleMore example sentences
- The decision to stand pat highlights the lack of coordination between the BOJ and the government to pull the world's second-biggest economy out of recession.
- Arizona, with a payroll already stretching the club's resources to a budget-busting level, opted to stand pat, which is not a bad decision.
- The Bruins opted to stand pat on their coach and shuffle players like so many playing cards.
- (In poker and blackjack) retain one’s hand as dealt, without drawing other cards.More example sentences
- The Capraesque ‘normal’ person stands pat with his neighborhood investment club while the financiers of Manhattan, driven by imaginary fears and wild superstitions, panic and flee.
- Eleven of his 14 picks are in the final four rounds, so it's unlikely Wolf will be able to move up more than a position or two in the first round - so he'll likely stand pat at the 14th pick and take the best defensive end.
- Likewise, if your No.2 wideout is set to face tough defenses in three consecutive weeks, don't stand pat and take that kind of scoring hit.
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- The Scooby-Doo ending disappoints when it is delivered too patly, when the information comes to easily, when the proper foundation has not been laid.
- Ten minutes later, Collateral has been patly wrapped up and you're staring at the credits, feeling a bit disappointed.
- Many of the survivors are more thinly drawn than their abusers, and some patly written scenes necessary to move the story along clearly take more dramatic license with reality than you wish they would.
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- It is not that we need any sort of patness, and there is much to be said for stories that are not tied up too neatly, but occasionally one encounters an almost wilful irresolution.
- And the outcome doesn't quite work - wobbly credibility giving way to patness.
- I enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, but the minor weaknesses in those films - their occasional obviousness, patness, and preachiness - blossom into the defining characteristics of The Majestic.
late 16th century: related to pat1; apparently originally symbolic: a frequently found early use was hit pat (i.e., hit as if with a flat blow).