noun, plural pat·ois [pat-wahz, pah-twahz; French patwa] /ˈpæt wɑz, ˈpɑ twɑz; French paˈtwa/.

  1. a regional form of a language, especially of French, differing from the standard, literary form of the language.
  2. a rural or provincial form of speech.
  3. jargon; cant; argot.

noun plural patois (ˈpætwɑːz, French patwa)

  1. an unwritten regional dialect of a language, esp of French, usually considered substandard
  2. the jargon of particular group

n.“a provincial dialect,” 1640s, from French patois “native or local speech” (13c.), of uncertain origin, probably from Old French patoier “handle clumsily, to paw,” from pate “a paw,” from Vulgar Latin *patta (see patten), from notion of clumsy manner of speaking. Cf. French pataud “properly, a young dog with big paws, then an awkwardly built fellow” [Brachet]. Especially in reference to Jamaican English from 1934.

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