English Dictionary

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patent (ˈpætənt Pronunciation for patent ; ˈpeɪtənt Pronunciation for patent



    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 Pronunciation for . 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
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'

And patent costs and studio rentals are increasing all the time.
Martin, Joy The Image of Laura
Beneath his pewter grey super lightweight suit his black shoes shone with a better shine than patent leather.
He was denied the patent on the advice of unknown parties, who held that the instrument would be all too easy to duplicate.
North, John The Fontana history of Astronomy and Cosmology
She was wearing a short, white, belted raincoat, black stockings and black, patent leather, high-heeled shoes.
Howatch, Susan Absolute Truths
The patent made it unlawful for yellow beans to be grown in the US or imported without paying royalty payments to the patent holder.
Glasgow Herald (2002)
This confusion is one reason why Europe has fallen behind in the race to patent new technologies.
Irish Times (2002)
Two royal patents King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has received a patent for artificial rainmaking, the New Scientist reports.
Globe and Mail (2003)
What is more, companies are unlikely to invest in the method because he has not tried to patent it.
New Scientist (2004)


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