pat on back


1 [pat]
verb (used with object), patted, patting.
to strike lightly or gently with something flat, as with a paddle or the palm of the hand, usually in order to flatten, smooth, or shape: to pat dough into flat pastry forms.
to stroke or tap gently with the palm or fingers as an expression of affection, approbation, etc.
to strike (the floor, ground, etc.) with light footsteps.
verb (used without object), patted, patting.
to strike lightly or gently.
to walk or run with light footsteps.
a light stroke, tap, or blow with the palm, fingers, or a flat object.
the sound of a light stroke or of light footsteps.
a small piece or mass, usually flat and square, formed by patting, cutting, etc.: a pat of butter.
a pat on the back, a word of praise, congratulations, or encouragement: Everyone needs a pat on the back now and then.
pat down, to pat or pass the hands over the body of (a clothed person) to detect concealed weapons, drugs, etc.
pat on the back, to praise, congratulate, or encourage: The boss patted him on the back for the deal he made yesterday.

1375–1425; late Middle English pat blow, stroke, apparently of expressive orig.

unpatted, adjective

8. square, cake, dab. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To pat on back
World English Dictionary
pat1 (pæt)
vb , pats, patting, patted
1.  to hit (something) lightly with the palm of the hand or some other flat surface: to pat a ball
2.  to slap (a person or animal) gently, esp on the back, as an expression of affection, congratulation, etc
3.  (tr) to shape, smooth, etc, with a flat instrument or the palm
4.  (intr) to walk or run with light footsteps
5.  informal pat someone on the back to congratulate or encourage someone
6.  a light blow with something flat
7.  a gentle slap
8.  a small mass of something: a pat of butter
9.  the sound made by a light stroke or light footsteps
10.  informal pat on the back a gesture or word indicating approval or encouragement
[C14: perhaps imitative]

pat2 (pæt)
1.  Also: off pat exactly or fluently memorized or mastered: he recited it pat
2.  opportunely or aptly
3.  stand pat
 a.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) to refuse to abandon a belief, decision, etc
 b.  (in poker, etc) to play without adding new cards to the hand dealt
4.  exactly right for the occasion; apt: a pat reply
5.  too exactly fitting; glib: a pat answer to a difficult problem
6.  exactly right: a pat hand in poker
[C17: perhaps adverbial use (``with a light stroke'') of pat1]

pat3 (pæt)
informal (Austral) on one's pat alone; on one's own
[C20: rhyming slang, from Pat Malone]

Pat (pæt)
an informal name for an Irishman
[from Patrick]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1400, "a blow, stroke," perhaps originally imitative of the sound of patting. The verb "to tap or strike lightly" is attested from c.1600, and the noun "light tap with hand" is from c.1804. The noun sense "that which is formed by patting" (as in pat of butter) is 1754, probably from the verb. The nursery
rhyme phrase pat-a-cake is known from 1874.

"apt, suitably," 1578, perhaps a special use of pat (n.) in sense of "hitting" the mark. The adj. is 1638, from the adverb.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
point after touchdown
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature