English Dictionary

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patent (ˈpætənt ; ˈpeɪtənt



    1. a government grant to an inventor assuring him the sole right to make, use, and sell his invention for a limited period
    2. a document conveying such a grant
  1. an invention, privilege, etc, protected by a patent
    1. an official document granting a right
    2. any right granted by such a document
  2. (in the US)
    1. a grant by the government of title to public lands
    2. the instrument by which such title is granted
    3. the land so granted
  3. a sign that one possesses a certain quality



  1. open or available for inspection (esp in the phrases letters patent, patent writ)
  2.  (ˈpeɪtənt obvious   ⇒  ■ their scorn was patent to everyone
  3. concerning protection, appointment, etc, of or by a patent or patents
  4. proprietary
  5. (esp of a bodily passage or duct) being open or unobstructed
  6. (biology) spreading out widely   ⇒  ■ patent branches
  7. (of plate glass) ground and polished on both sides


verb (transitive)

  1. to obtain a patent for
  2. (in the US) to grant (public land or mineral rights) by a patent
  3. (metallurgy) to heat (a metal) above a transformation temperature and cool it at a rate that allows cold working
USAGE The pronunciation (ˈpætənt) is heard in letters patent and Patent Office and is the usual US pronunciation for all senses. In Britain (ˈpætənt) is sometimes heard for senses 1, 2, and 3, but , (ˈpeɪtənt) is commoner and is regularly used in collocations like patent leather

Derived Forms

ˈpatentable  adjective
ˌpatentaˈbility  noun

Word Origin

C14: via Old French from Latin patēre to lie open; n use, short for letters patent, from Medieval Latin litterae patentes letters lying open (to public inspection)

Translations for 'patent'

  • British English: patent A patent is an official right to be the only person or company allowed to make or sell a new product for a certain period of time. NOUNThe company applied for a patent on its cookies.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: patente
  • Chinese: 专利专專利
  • European Spanish: patente
  • French: brevet
  • German: Patent
  • Italian: brevetto
  • Japanese: 特許
  • Korean: 특허권
  • Portuguese: patente
  • Spanish: patente
  • British English: patent If you patent something, you obtain a patent for it. VERBHe patented the idea that the atom could be split.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: patentear
  • Chinese: 获得专利获<TRAD>獲</TRAD>得专<TRAD>專</TRAD>利專利
  • European Spanish: patentar
  • French: faire breveter
  • German: patentieren
  • Italian: brevettare
  • Japanese: 特許を取得する
  • Korean: 특허권을 얻다
  • Portuguese: patentear
  • Spanish: patentar

Example Sentences Including 'patent'

Beneath his pewter grey super lightweight suit his black shoes shone with a better shine than patent leather.
She was wearing a short, white, belted raincoat, black stockings and black, patent leather, high-heeled shoes.
Howatch, Susan Absolute Truths
And patent costs and studio rentals are increasing all the time.
Martin, Joy The Image of Laura


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