a. A small piece of material affixed to another, larger piece to conceal, reinforce, or repair a worn area, hole, or tear.
b. A small piece of cloth used for patchwork.
2. A small cloth badge affixed to a garment as a decoration or an insignia, as of a military unit.
a. A dressing or covering applied to protect a wound or sore.
b. A pad or shield of cloth worn over an eye socket or an injured eye.
c. A transdermal patch.
4. See beauty spot.
a. A small piece, part, or section, especially that which differs from or contrasts with the whole: a patch of thin ice; patches of sunlight.
b. A small plot or piece of land, especially one that produces or is used for growing specific vegetation: a briar patch; a bean patch.
6. An indefinite period of time; a spell: weathered a difficult patch after losing his job.
7. A temporary, removable electronic connection, as one between two components in a communications system.
8. Computers A piece of code added to software in order to fix a bug, especially as a temporary correction between two releases.
v. patched, patch·ing, patch·es
1. To put a patch or patches on: patched my pants.
2. To make by sewing scraps of material together: patch a quilt.
3. To mend, repair, or put together, especially hastily, clumsily, or poorly: They patched together the broken statues with glue and plaster. The delegates will be forced to patch up their differences.
4. To connect temporarily (electronic components), as with a patch cord.
5. Computers To correct a bug in (an item of software), especially as a temporary correction between releases.
Electronics To be connected temporarily.
[Middle English pacche, perhaps alteration of pece, pecche, piece; see PIECE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.