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[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-uhp] /ˈpætʃˌʌp/
an act or instance of patching or repair.
done by patching or fixing:
a quick patch-up job.
First recorded in 1900-05; noun, adj. use of verb phrase patch up Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for patch up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But it would be a sin to allow it; it would be spoiling a saint to patch up a sinner.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • I was glad to patch up the quarrel, and willing to say and think no more about it.

    In Direst Peril David Christie Murray
  • I hit one of the canoes, Luka; I fancy they are trying to patch up the hole.

    Condemned as a Nihilist George Alfred Henty
  • The king then empowered Melbourne to patch up the whig ministry.

  • Evidently his wife was not going to patch up peace at a word.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Why, they say Spain is trying to patch up the quarrel between us and France.

    Held Fast For England

    G. A. Henty
  • Actually she was trying to patch up his fallen angel for him.

    Christmas Roses and Other Stories Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • They seek how they may patch up these fables, but they find no way.

    The City of God, Volume I Aurelius Augustine
  • Husband and wife had tried to patch up the damage, but had failed.

    Wanderers Knut Hamsun
British Dictionary definitions for patch up


  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 up



"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 up 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 up 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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Idioms and Phrases with patch up

patch up

Mend or repair, make whole. For example, He managed to patch up the lawn mower so it's running, or John cut his hand badly, but they patched him up in the emergency room, or Mike and Molly have patched up their differences. This term alludes to mending something by putting patches of material on it. [ Second half of 1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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