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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[pach] /pætʃ/
a small piece of material used to mend a tear or break, to cover a hole, or to strengthen a weak place:
patches at the elbows of a sports jacket.
a piece of material used to cover or protect a wound, an injured part, etc.:
a patch over the eye.
Also called skin patch, transdermal patch. an adhesive patch that applies to the skin and gradually delivers drugs or medication to the user:
using a nicotine patch to try to quit smoking.
any of the pieces of cloth sewed together to form patchwork.
a small piece, scrap, or area of anything:
a patch of ice on the road.
a piece or tract of land; plot.
a small field, plot, or garden, especially one in which a specific type of plant grows or is cultivated:
a cabbage patch; a bean patch.
beauty spot (def 1).
Military. a cloth emblem worn on the upper uniform sleeve to identify the military unit of the wearer.
a small organizational or affiliational emblem of cloth sewn to one's jacket, shirt, cap, etc.
a connection or hookup, as between radio circuits or telephone lines:
The patch allowed shut-ins to hear the game by telephone.
a period of time characterized by some quality:
he was going through a rough patch.
Computers. a small piece of code designed to be inserted into an executable program in order to fix errors in, or update the program or its supporting data.
verb (used with object)
to mend, cover, or strengthen with or as if with a patch or patches.
to repair or restore, especially in a hasty or makeshift way (usually followed by up).
to make by joining patches or pieces together:
to patch a quilt.
to settle or smooth over (a quarrel, difference, etc.) (often followed by up):
They patched up their quarrel before the company arrived.
(especially in radio and telephone communications) to connect or hook up (circuits, programs, conversations, etc.) (often followed by through, into, etc.):
The radio show was patched through to the ship. Patch me through to the mainland.
verb (used without object)
to make a connection between radio circuits, telephone lines, etc. (often followed by in or into):
We patched into the ship-to-shore conversation.
Origin of patch1
1350-1400; Middle English pacche; perhaps akin to Old Provençal pedas piece to cover a hole < Vulgar Latin *pedaceum literally, something measured; compare Medieval Latin pedāre to measure in feet; see -ped
Related forms
patchable, adjective
patcher, noun
patchless, adjective
unpatched, adjective
well-patched, adjective
14. fix. See mend.
14. break.


[pach] /pætʃ/
a clown, fool, or booby.
1540-50; perhaps < Italian pazzo fool


[pach] /pætʃ/
Alexander McCarrell
[muh-kar-uh l] /məˈkær əl/ (Show IPA),
1889–1945, U.S. World War II general. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for patch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then we had to stop up the holes with anything we had, and patch the paper as best we could.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh Edith Eudora Kohl
  • Come, patch, you must give up your cloak; you can do without it now.

  • She made him a low curtsy, one of those graceful sweeping curtsies of the patch and powder period which are an extinct art.

    Mohawks, Volume 2 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • In the middle of the back is a patch of shorter dull-gray hair.

  • There is a radical distinction between the verbs “to piece” and “to patch,” as used in connection with the making of quilts.

    Quilts Marie D. Webster
British Dictionary definitions for patch


  1. a piece of material used to mend a garment or to make patchwork, a sewn-on pocket, etc
  2. (as modifier): a patch pocket
a small piece, area, expanse, etc
  1. a small plot of land
  2. its produce: a patch of cabbages
a district for which particular officials, such as social workers or policemen, have responsibility: he's a problem that's on your patch, John
(pathol) any discoloured area on the skin, mucous membranes, etc, usually being one sign of a specific disorder
  1. a protective covering for an injured eye
  2. any protective dressing
an imitation beauty spot, esp one made of black or coloured silk, worn by both sexes, esp in the 18th century
(US) Also called flash. an identifying piece of fabric worn on the shoulder of a uniform, on a vehicle, etc
a small contrasting section or stretch: a patch of cloud in the blue sky
a scrap; remnant
(computing) a small set of instructions to correct or improve a computer program
(Austral, informal) the insignia of a motorcycle club or gang
a bad patch, a difficult or troubled time
(informal) not a patch on, not nearly as good as
verb (transitive)
to mend or supply (a garment, etc) with a patch or patches
to put together or produce with patches
(of material) to serve as a patch to
(often foll by up) to mend hurriedly or in a makeshift way
(often foll by up) to make (up) or settle (a quarrel)
to connect (electric circuits) together temporarily by means of a patch board
(usually foll by through) to connect (a telephone call) by means of a patch board
(computing) to correct or improve (a program) by adding a small set of instructions
Derived Forms
patchable, adjective
patcher, noun
Word Origin
C16 pacche, perhaps from French piechepiece
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for patch

"piece of cloth used to mend another material," late 14c., of obscure origin, perhaps a variant of pece, pieche, from Old North French pieche (see piece (n.)), or from an unrecorded Old English word (but Old English had claðflyhte "a patch"). Phrase not a patch on "nowhere near as good as" is from 1860.

"fool, clown," 1540s, perhaps from Italian pazzo "fool," of unknown origin. Possibly from Old High German barzjan "to rave" [Klein]. But Buck says pazzo is originally euphemistic, and from Latin patiens "suffering," in medical use, "the patient." Form perhaps influenced by folk etymology derivation from patch (n.1), on notion of a fool's patched garb.


mid-15c., from patch (n.1). Electronics sense of "to connect temporarily" is attested from 1923. Related: Patched; patching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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patch in Medicine

patch (pāch)

  1. A small circumscribed area differing from the surrounding surface.

  2. A dressing or covering applied to protect a wound or sore.

  3. A transdermal patch.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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patch in Science
  1. A temporary, removable electronic connection, as one between two components in a communications system.

  2. A piece of code added to software in order to fix a bug, especially as a temporary correction between two versions of the same software.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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patch in Technology
1. A temporary addition to a piece of code, usually as a quick-and-dirty remedy to an existing bug or misfeature. A patch may or may not work, and may or may not eventually be incorporated permanently into the program. Distinguished from a diff or mod by the fact that a patch is generated by more primitive means than the rest of the program; the classical examples are instructions modified by using the front panel switches, and changes made directly to the binary executable of a program originally written in an HLL. Compare one-line fix.
2. To insert a patch into a piece of code.
3. [in the Unix world] A diff.
4. A set of modifications to binaries to be applied by a patching program. IBM systems often receive updates to the operating system in the form of absolute hexadecimal patches. If you have modified your OS, you have to disassemble these back to the source code. The patches might later be corrected by other patches on top of them (patches were said to "grow scar tissue"). The result was often a convoluted patch space and headaches galore.
There is a classic story of a tiger team penetrating a secure military computer that illustrates the danger inherent in binary patches (or, indeed, any patches that you can't - or don't - inspect and examine before installing). They couldn't find any trap doors or any way to penetrate security of IBM's OS, so they made a site visit to an IBM office (remember, these were official military types who were purportedly on official business), swiped some IBM stationery, and created a fake patch. The patch was actually the trapdoor they needed. The patch was distributed at about the right time for an IBM patch, had official stationery and all accompanying documentation, and was dutifully installed. The installation manager very shortly thereafter learned something about proper procedures.
5. Larry Wall's "patch" utility program, which automatically applies a patch to a set of source code or other text files. Patch accepts input in any of the four forms output by the Unix diff utility. When the files being patched are not identical to those on which the diffs were based, patch uses heuristics to determine how to proceed.
Diff and patch are the standard way of producing and applying updates under Unix. Both have been ported to other operating systems.
Patch Home (
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for patch


planned approach to community health
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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