"a provincial dialect," 1640s, from French patois "native or local speech" (13c.), of uncertain origin, probably from Old French patoier "handle clumsily, to paw," from pate "a paw," from Vulgar Latin *patta (see patten), from notion of clumsy manner of speaking. Cf. French pataud "properly, a young dog with big paws, then an awkwardly built fellow" [Brachet]. Especially in reference to Jamaican English from 1934.