[pat-nt or for 10, 12–15, peyt-; especially British peyt-nt]


adjective pa·tent [peyt-nt] /ˈpeɪt nt/ (for 10, 12–15)

verb (used with object)

Nearby words

  1. patellectomy,
  2. patelliform,
  3. paten,
  4. patency,
  5. patenier,
  6. patent ambiguity,
  7. patent cliff,
  8. patent ductus arteriosus,
  9. patent fastener,
  10. patent flour

Origin of patent

1250–1300; (adj.) Middle English < Latin patent- (stem of patēns) open, orig. present participle of patēre to stand wide open; (noun) Middle English, short for letters patent, translation of Medieval Latin litterae patentēs open letters

Related forms

Synonym study

10. See apparent. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patently

British Dictionary definitions for patently



obviouslyhe was patently bored



  1. a government grant to an inventor assuring him the sole right to make, use, and sell his invention for a limited period
  2. a document conveying such a grant
an invention, privilege, etc, protected by a patent
  1. an official document granting a right
  2. any right granted by such a document
(in the US)
  1. a grant by the government of title to public lands
  2. the instrument by which such title is granted
  3. the land so granted
a sign that one possesses a certain quality


open or available for inspection (esp in the phrases letters patent, patent writ)
(ˈpeɪtənt) obvioustheir scorn was patent to everyone
concerning protection, appointment, etc, of or by a patent or patents
(esp of a bodily passage or duct) being open or unobstructed
biology spreading out widelypatent branches
(of plate glass) ground and polished on both sides

verb (tr)

to obtain a patent for
(in the US) to grant (public land or mineral rights) by a patent
metallurgy to heat (a metal) above a transformation temperature and cool it at a rate that allows cold working
Derived Formspatentable, adjectivepatentability, noun

Word Origin for patent

C14: via Old French from Latin patēre to lie open; n use, short for letters patent, from Medieval Latin litterae patentes letters lying open (to public inspection)


The pronunciation (ˈpætənt) is heard in letters patent and Patent Office and is the usual US pronunciation for all senses. In Britain (ˈpætənt) is sometimes heard for senses 1, 2 and 3, but (ˈpeɪtənt) is commoner and is regularly used in collocations like patent leather

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 patently
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for patently




A grant made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time.
An invention protected by such a grant.


Of, relating to, or being a nonprescription drug or other medical preparation that is often protected by a trademark.
Not blocked; open.
Spreading open; expanded.


To obtain a patent on or for something, such as an invention.
To invent, originate, or be the proprietor of an idea.
To grant a patent to someone or for something.

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