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Patch, subst. 1) a piece sewed on to cover a hole: “--es set upon a little breach,” John IV, 2, 32. “botch and bungle up damnation with --es, colours,” H5 II, 2, 116. “a king of shreds and --es,” Hml. III, 4, 102.
2) a piece of silk or velvet used to cover a defect on the face: “with a p. of velvet on's face,” All's IV, 5, 100. “--es will I get unto these cudgelled scars,” H5 V, 1, 93.
3) a plot of ground: “to gain a little p. of ground,” Hml. IV, 4, 18.
4) a paltry fellow: “what a pied ninny's this! thou scurvy p.” Tp. III, 2, 71. “coxcomb, idiot, p.” Err. III, 1, 32. “what p. is made our porter?” Err. III, 1, 32 “a p. set on learning,” LLL IV, 2, 32. “a crew of --es, rude mechanicals,” Mids. III, 2, 9. “the p. is kind enough, but a huge feeder,” Merch. II, 5, 46. “what soldiers, p.?” Mcb. V, 3, 15.
In the cited passages of Tp., Err. and Merch. the word is by most commentators interpreted as meaning a domestic fool, supposed to be called so from his parti-coloured dress. Douce proves that several fools in the sixteenth century bore the nickname of Patch.
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