noun, plural pat·sies. Slang.

a person who is easily swindled, deceived, coerced, persuaded, etc.; sucker.
a person upon whom the blame for something falls; scapegoat; fall guy.
a person who is the object of a joke, ridicule, or the like.

Nearby words

  1. patronne,
  2. patronym,
  3. patronymic,
  4. patroon,
  5. patrón,
  6. patten,
  7. patter,
  8. patter song,
  9. pattern,
  10. pattern bargaining

Origin of patsy

An Americanism dating back to 1900–05; origin uncertain




a male given name, form of Patrick.
a female given name, form of Patricia. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patsy

British Dictionary definitions for patsy


noun plural -sies slang, mainly US and Canadian

a person who is easily cheated, victimized, etc
a scapegoat

Word Origin for patsy

C20: of unknown origin

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 patsy



"fall guy, victim of a deception," 1903, of uncertain origin, possibly an alteration of Italian pazzo "madman" (see patch (n.2)), or south Italian dialectal paccio "fool." Another theory traces it to Patsy Bolivar, character created by Billy B. Van in an 1890s vaudeville skit who was blamed whenever anything went wrong.

"Poor Rogers," Vincent said, still smiling, "he is always the 'Patsy Bolivar' of the school."
"Yes," Frank answered, "if there are any mistakes to be made or trouble to fall into, Rogers seems to be always the victim." ["Anthony Yorke," "A College Boy," 1899]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper