verb (used with object)

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.

Nearby words

  1. patagonian toothfish,
  2. pataka,
  3. patan,
  4. patanjali,
  5. pataphysics,
  6. patch board,
  7. patch cord,
  8. patch pocket,
  9. patch quilt,
  10. patch reef

Origin of patch

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




an act or instance of patching or repair.


done by patching or fixing: a quick patch-up job.

Origin of patch-up

First recorded in 1900–05; noun, adj. use of verb phrase patch up Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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 producea patch of cabbages
a district for which particular officials, such as social workers or policemen, have responsibilityhe'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
Also called: flash US an identifying piece of fabric worn on the shoulder of a uniform, on a vehicle, etc
a small contrasting section or stretcha patch of cloud in the blue sky
a scrap; remnant
computing a small set of instructions to correct or improve a computer program
Australian informal the insignia of a motorcycle club or gang
a bad patch a difficult or troubled time
not a patch on informal not nearly as good as

verb (tr)

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 Formspatchable, adjectivepatcher, noun

Word Origin for patch

C16 pacche, perhaps from French pieche piece

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

Word Origin and History for patch up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for patch up




A small circumscribed area differing from the surrounding surface.
A dressing or covering applied to protect a wound or sore.
A transdermal patch.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for patch up



A temporary, removable electronic connection, as one between two components in a communications system.
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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.