[ pat-wah, pah-twah; French pa-twa ]
See synonyms for patois on
noun,plural pat·ois [pat-wahz, pah-twahz; French pa-twa]. /ˈpæt wɑz, ˈpɑ twɑz; French paˈtwa/.
  1. a regional form of a language, especially of French, differing from the standard, literary form of the language.

  2. a rural or provincial form of speech.

  1. jargon; cant; argot.

Origin of patois

1635–45; <French: literally clumsy speech; akin to Old French patoier to handle clumsily, derivative of pate paw

Words Nearby patois Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use patois in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for patois


/ (ˈpætwɑː, French patwa) /

nounplural patois (ˈpætwɑːz, French patwa)
  1. an unwritten regional dialect of a language, esp of French, usually considered substandard

  2. the jargon of particular group

Origin of patois

C17: from Old French: rustic speech, perhaps from patoier to handle awkwardly, from patte paw

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