One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A paw; (humorously) a hand. rare.
2A short band or strap, attached by one end and buttoning at the other, used to fasten a coat or other garment whose edges do not overlap. Also: a similar band attached at both ends for holding a belt or sash in place, or sewn on simply as a decorative trimming. Now historical.
Late 16th century. From Anglo-Norman pate and Middle French pate, patte, French patte, † pate paw, (familiar term for) the human hand, short band of cloth attached to clothes for trimming or fastening, cognate with Spanish pata, Portuguese pata, probably ultimately of imitative origin.
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