One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A boat or small ship used for communication between the vessels of a fleet; a dispatch-boat.
2A small horse-drawn carriage used in France.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Greene (bap. 1558, d. 1592), writer and playwright. From Spanish patache (1553; also as patage, patax, pataje, etc.), of uncertain origin. Compare Middle French, French patache, Catalan pataxa, patatxo, Portuguese patacho, Dutch † pataxo, patas.
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