The plaster of which the court ladies made their patches. These patches, worn on the face, were cut into the shape of crescents, stars, circles, diamonds, hearts, crosses; and some even went so far as to patch their face with a coach-and-four, a ship in full sail, a château, etc. This ridiculous fashion was in vogue in the reign of Charles I.; and in the reign of Anne was employed as the badge of political partisanship. (See Patches.)
Your black patches you wear variously, Some cut like stars, some in half-moons, some lozenges.
Beaumont and Fletcher: Elder Brother, iii.2.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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