stand pat

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Probably originally a poker phrase, with "pat" equaling "optimal", meaning that drawing more cards is unnecessary. Later the phrase came to be employed in other spheres. "Stand pat" was actively used in U.S. political campaigns of the 1900s, quickly gaining a sense of "being reactionary, resistant to dramatic changes in policy". Moreover, a noun "standpatter\stand-patter" was coined to denote such politicians.[1]


stand pat (third-person singular simple present stands pat, present participle standing pat, simple past and past participle stood pat)

  1. (poker) To play one's hand without drawing any more cards.
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter IV
      With a mixed hand and the highest card the curse of Scotland, I've seen that man stand pat in a game with four millionaire mining men.
  2. (idiomatic) To resist changes.
    • 2012, "Asia's Local Growth Dilemma", Wall Street Journal, by Alex Frangos, 21st of July:
      China has cut rates and allowed banks to boost lending, while some countries, such as South Korea have stood pat, fearful that inflation pressures could reignite.
  3. (intransitive, blackjack) To stop hitting.
    After getting a hand of 20, the player stood pat.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Safire's Political Dictionary, William Safire, Oxford University Press, Mar 31, 2008; page 700