A fool; so called from the motley or patched dress worn by licensed fools.
“What a pied ninny's this! thou scurvy patch!”
(To). To express certain political views. The allusion is to the custom, in Queen Anne's reign, of wearing on the face little black patches. If the patch was on the right cheek, it indicated that the wearer was a Whig; if on the left cheek, that she was a Tory; if on the forehead between the eyes, or on both cheeks, that she was of no political bias. (See Court Plaster.)
“Whatever might be her husband's politics, she was at liberty to patch as she pleased.” —Nineteenth Century, February, 1890, p. 58.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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