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See also: Patten


A pair of pattens.

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English paten, patin, pateyn, from Anglo-Norman patin, Old French patin, from patte (paw, hoof), from Latin patta, of imitative origin.



patten (plural pattens)

  1. Any of various types of footwear with thick soles, often used to elevate the foot, especially wooden clogs. [from 14th c.]
    • 1660, Samuel Pepys, Diary, 24 Jan 1660:
      I went and told part of the excise money till twelve o’clock, and then called on my wife and took her to Mr. Pierces, she in the way being exceedingly troubled with a pair of new pattens, and I vexed to go so slow, it being late.
    • Tom Freckle, the smith's son, was the next victim to her rage. He was an ingenious workman, and made excellent pattens; nay, the very patten with which he was knocked down was his own workmanship.
  2. (now historical) One of various wooden attachments used to lift a shoe above wet or muddy ground. [form 16th c.]
    • 1838, Charles Greenstreet Addison, Damascus and Palmyra: A Journey to the East - Volume 2, page 64:
      They presented the most extraordinary and comic aspect imaginable, with their shaven heads and long beard; (the heads of all Mussulmen are shaved quite bare, with the exception of a tuft on the very top, which is left for the angel of the tomb on the day of judgment, say they, to grasp and carry them up to heaven by;) besides these, other objects are seen wrapped up in towels, with black grisled beards tickling their breasts, and tottering along on a high pair of pattens or rather stilts, at the imminent danger, as it appears, of breaking their necks.
    • 1845, Charles Dickens, The Cricket on the Hearth:
      Mrs. Peerybingle, going out into the raw twilight, and clicking over the wet stones in a pair of pattens that worked innumerable rough impressions of the first proposition in Euclid all about the yard—Mrs. Peerybingle filled the kettle at the water-butt.
    • 1886, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 739:
      I suppose that those who ramble beyond railways may yet come upon females underpinned with the useful and once indispensable pattens, but for a long time it has not been my lot to look upon a pair. Goloshes, clogs, cork-soles, and other inventions, have quite superseded the noisy old resource ; and I am not sure that the modern appliances could make out a perfect claim to superiority over the old, for the pattens not only kept the feet dry, they also, by raising the wearer from one to two inches, kept the garments out of the mire.
    • 1998, Sharon Ann Burnston, ‎Linda A Scurlock, ‎Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, Pa.), Fitting & proper:
      Pair of Woman's Pattens, c. 1700-80 A pair of woman's pattens, wooden soles riveted to wrought iron platforms with straps of brown leather lined with off-white wool.
    • 2007, Nancy L. Canepa, translating Giambattista Basile, Tale of Tales, Penguin 2007, p. 60:
      The servant, who wasn't able to reach the flying coach, picked the patten [transl. chianiello] up from the ground and brought it to the king, telling him what had happened.
  3. (obsolete) A circular wooden plank attached to a horse's foot to prevent it from sinking into a bog while plowing. [18th–19th c.]
    • 1795, D. Walker, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Hertford, page 42:
      At and in the neighbourhood of North Meoks, near Ormskirk in Lancashire, there is a whole country of peat, and how deep this soil is God only knows, for the horses which plough thereon wear pattens to keep them from sinking to the bellies: here I was not long ago deluded, by my ignorance of the country and a team in pattens, to attempt riding over ploughed ground to inquire my way.
    • 1814, The Fourth Report of the Commissioners (Ireland) 4 November, 1813 - 30 July, 1814, page 215:
      Some trials have been made in Ireland to put pattens on bullocks instead of horses, for ploughing on bog.
  4. (now Britain dialectal) An ice skate. [from 17th c.]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Variant forms.


patten (plural pattens)

  1. Obsolete form of paten.