Posted by ESC on January 14, 2000
In Reply to: Origin of phrase "down pat" posted by ESC on January 13, 2000
: : this is an assignment for one of my college classes and have not been able to locate anything on the phrase "down pat" other than what it means. Any help is greatly appreciated.
: From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, 1997): "stand pat. American poker players in the late 19th century invented this expression to indicate that a player was satisfied with the original hand dealt to him and would draw no more cards. Where did pat come from? One theory is that because the word meant 'in a manner that fits or agrees with the purpose or occasion' or 'incapable of being improved' it was a natural for the poker expression. Another holds that 'stand pat' is a corruption of 'stand pad,' an older English expression meaning 'to sell from a stationary position' and originally referring to peddlers who remained in a fixed location..."
: I just realized that you were asking about "down pat." I haven't found that yet. But if you'll look at the word definition in the first theory, that might help.
PAT -- From "The Dictionary of Etymology: The Origins of American English Words" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins, 1995): "pat2 adv., suitably. 1578, perhaps a special use of pat1 (a light tap), in the sense of hitting the mark; and thus 'opportunely,' ready for any occasion."