Paten vs patten

  • Paten and patten are two words that are often confused. They are pronounced in the same fashion but have different meanings and different spellings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words paten and patten, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


    A paten is a plate upon which the bread in a Eucharistic ceremony rests, usually made of a precious metal such as gold or silver. Sometimes it is used to cover a chalice. The word paten is derived from the Latin word patina which means dish or plate.


    A patten is a type of shoe, a wooden clog that has a raised sole that keeps the foot dry when walking in marshes or other muddy ground. The word patten is derived from the Old French word patin which means clog or shoe.


    Rev. Michael Romano, bishop’s secretary, prepared the elements of communion; he placed a small crucifix in the center of the table over a white linen cloth, then poured water and wine from clear bottles into a gold chalice and arranged communion wafers on the gold paten, which the bishop used to celebrate the Mass. (The Cape May County Herald)

    Items stolen include a silver flagon on which ‘Glory to God on high’ is engraved, a silver paten [plate] marked ‘O lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world have mercy on us’, and another silver paten. (The Reading Post)

    A patten, for those who don’t know, was a protective overshoe with a wooden or metal sole, while a last was the mold on which a shoe was made. (The York Press)

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