One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a police officer or security official) pass the hands over someone's clothing in a search for concealed items such as weapons or illegal drugs.
- ‘When police officers arrived, a passer-by pointed out where the man had run off to; the officers found him and patted him down.’
- ‘"They patted me down and found nothing," Godfrey says.’
- ‘A female screener patted her down under her armpit and touched her with an open hand between her breasts.’
- ‘John patted him down, but found nothing.’
- ‘The second soldier patted me down roughly, then scrutinized my Harper's press card minutely.’
- ‘They came in, patted me down and made me sit in the corner.’
- ‘Then the two airmen led the suspect away to the hood of a patrol car, where they patted him down for weapons and drugs.’
- ‘They made me take off my boots and patted me down.’
- ‘At the reception station, a tall young guard took my photo, scanned my index fingerprints, and patted me down.’
- ‘He patted me down for a wire.’
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