Definition of patois in English:

patois

noun

  • 1The dialect of the common people of a region, differing in various respects from the standard language of the rest of the country.

    ‘the nurse talked to me in a patois that even Italians would have had difficulty in understanding’
    • ‘Their language has crystallised in the Bajan patois.’
    • ‘It is reflected in the islanders' Catholicism, in their French-based patois, and in such customs as its Flower Festivals.’
    • ‘The official language is Standard English - patois is very rarely spoken today.’
    • ‘At the age of 14, she began to write and dramatize poems using patois rather than standard English.’
    • ‘They speak English, French, or an English patois at home and are mostly Protestant.’
    • ‘Thus, a Frenchman who spoke Breton and French would not be considered bilingual because Breton is of low status and considered a patois rather than a language.’
    • ‘Today I wanted to talk about Bajan as a dialect or language or patois or whatever you wish to call it.’
    • ‘The National Assembly decided in 1790 to translate its decrees into minority languages and various patois.’
    • ‘The men were droning at each other in their Greek-inflected patois, or singing through their noses to the accompaniment of a flute out of tune.’
    • ‘But a Creole patois, a mixed-language dialect, is spoken in the country.’
    • ‘In Jamaica, we speak English primarily but more often we speak the local dialect, patois.’
    • ‘Those Belgians from the south speak Walloon, which is a French patois derived from Latin.’
    • ‘English is the official language of Grenada, but many Grenadians speak patois, a dialect that combines English words with elements of French and African languages.’
    • ‘The inhabitants of this territory speak the familiar Tharp-invented patois.’
    • ‘He writes in the patois of Barbados, in the voices of village women, a language he makes both playful and sensuous.’
    • ‘Grenadian patois is different from that spoken on the other Windward Islands that make up Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.’
    • ‘They also recall Saint Lucia's checkered colonial past, reminding the visitor that many locals still speak a French patois, even though English is the island's official language.’
    • ‘The language is mostly the quaint island patois - not the stuff of verse drama.’
    • ‘The most famous writer in the Macau patois was José dos Santos Ferreira.’
    • ‘Corsican was designated as a patois, a provincial dialect.’
    vernacular, dialect, local parlance, local idiom, local slang, local speech, local talk, local tongue, local usage, local variety, regional language, non-standard language, non-standard variety, jargon, argot, patter, cant, -speak
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The jargon or informal speech used by a particular social group.
      ‘the raunchy patois of inner-city kids’
      • ‘What is it about spring training that reduces normally gruff sportswriters to the patois of travel brochures?’
      • ‘We have 1984 today; even if not in the form described by Orwell; since newspeak is replaced by the patois of the gang leaders and international body smugglers.’
      • ‘To emulate (in the specific patois of archivists) is to re-create a work that uses a defunct technology by essentially re-copying it into a current technology.’
      • ‘There was a new vocabulary for softball, a strange patois of drives and strokes and working boasts and ‘game balls.’’
      • ‘How do you develop a realistic-sounding slang patois?’
      • ‘At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner-city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: French, literally ‘rough speech’, perhaps from Old French patoier ‘treat roughly’, from patte ‘paw’.

Pronunciation