Return to "patent" page.

This term is important because I ran across from this link:


The first entry in this section is "Patent Nonsense".

The state of being "open" does not also mean "obvious", despite the fact that the word "obvious" is given as a definition by some sources. In today's use of the word, neither does it mean "easily understood" or "clearly understood". A thorough analysis of this word revealed that the word may be (albeit not without vigorous discussion) nearly worthless. At one extreme it is associated with concepts that are distinctly "inobvious" yet there are those who claim it means "obvious".

I Googled the web for a definition of the word "patent". The second link returned was the wikipedia encyclopedic reference. That page discusses what is probably the most common usage of the word: a legal patent. This, I thoguht, was curious. One criteria for obtaining a patent, is that the thing to be patented cannot be obvious. That is, if one wishes to patent a process the method to be patented cannot be obvious. Given this, the Wiktionary entry contradicts the Wikipedia definition (or vice versa).

I didn't pursue another source for a web definition of the biological usage because I recalled an example that explains how the word "patent" is used in a biological (medical) context. The term "patent Ductus Arteriosis" refers to an "open" (as in "not closed") Ductus Arteriosis. The Ductus Arteriosis is a blood vessel that bypasses the lungs prior to birth (and for a short time thereafter). If it (and the Foramen Ovale) do not close spontaneously (shortly after birth) they are usually closed surgically. Death is likely, otherwise, although it isn't necessarily immediate.

This summarizes two reasons for removing the second definition of its use as an adjective. (There is a spelling problem too, in the Noun portion. The word "privilege" is not spelled "privelege.)

If the word "obvious" is truly the meaning intended here, then the word "Obvious" ought to be used. A dictionary should be perspicuous; it should not be obscur. Any useful reference tool or research tool must be easily understood.

Point one: the meanings of words can vary. Phrases like "patent nonesense" use the term "patent" to mean "obvious". However, I do agree that the first adjective definition looks suspicious. If it is valid, it's probably archaic. --EncycloPetey 08:11, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation (homographs)Edit

"Patently obvious" would be pronounced with a 'hey' sound while "patent leather" would be pronounced with a 'cat' sound.zigzig20s 21:07, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Why are both pronunciations for the UK? Shouldn't the second one be listed as US?

Zigzig20's answer to this is patently (pay-tent-ly) obvious! Cannot one appreciate the richness of our great language that allows for words that have more that one meaning and sometimes complete opposites? I welcome some guidance from you Brits on this one. Last evening I used the correct pronunciation (as I believe it to be, at least on MY side of the pond) as "patently obvious", and was accused of trying to sound "hoidy-toidy" and over-educated--as my language does frequently favour the Queen's English, i.e. BBC Standard. My host was able to produce only one dictionary, which listed my pronunciation as number two for both meanings.

When I got home, I did real(sic) good! I looked in two of my dictionaries which both listed the "open" definition pronounced as "paytently." Although no longer currently practicing, I am still a licenced registered nurse, having worked in many hospitals since 1977. Whenever I cannulate (insert tube into) a vein, I must first test its patentcy (its "openness" to blood-flow). If anyone used the term "patent (like leather shoes or the legal term) ductus arteriosis" around any of my health care colleagues, she/he would likely be considered the unfortunate product of an inner-city public school C-minus education!--W8IMP 10:10, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Last modified on 15 May 2011, at 10:10