A fool; so called from the motley or patched dress worn by
“What a pied ninny's this! thou scurvy patch!”
Shakespeare: The Tempest, iii. 2.
An ill-tempered person. (See above. Not a patch upon.
to be compared with; as, “His horse is not a patch upon mine,” “My
patch is better than his garment.”
(To). To express certain political views. The allusion
is to the custom, in Queen Anne's reign, of wearing on the face little
black patches. If the patch was on the right cheek, it indicated that
the wearer was a Whig; if on the left cheek, that she was a Tory; if on
the forehead between the eyes, or on both cheeks, that she was of no
political bias. (See Court Plaster.)
“Whatever might be her husband's politics, she was at liberty to
patch as she pleased.” —Nineteenth Century, February, 1890, p.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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