Definitions

Patsy

Patsy

[pat-see]
Cline, Patsy, 1932-63, American country singer, b. Winchester, Va., as Virginia Patterson Hensley. She began singing locally while still in her teens and signed her first recording contract in 1953, but did not become well known until after the release of her first hit, "Walkin' after Midnight" (1957). Cline became a regular performer on radio's Grand Ole Opry in 1960. While remaining a country artist, she was the first female vocalist to successfully cross over to the pop charts. Among her other hits are "I Fall to Pieces" (1961), "Crazy" (1961), and "She's Got You" (1962). Cline was killed in a plane crash at the age of 30. Her strong, golden-toned voice and expressive, sometimes sobbing style influenced a wide range of singers including Dottie West, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and K. D. Lang. Cline was posthumously named (1992) to the Country Music Hall of Fame and given (1995) a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

See C. Hazen and M. Freeman, ed., Love Always: Patsy Cline's Letters to a Friend (1999); biographies by E. Nassour (rev. ed. 1993), M. Jones (1994, repr. 1999), M. Bego (1995), S. E. Brown and L. F. Myers (1996), and D. Hall (1998); Sweet Dreams (documentary film, 1985).

orig. Virginia Patterson Hensley

(born Sept. 8, 1932, Winchester, Va., U.S.—died March 5, 1963, near Camden, Tenn.) U.S. singer. Cline sang with country music groups as a teenager. She began recording in the mid-1950s and won first place on Arthur Godfrey's television show with “Walking After Midnight” (1957), a hit that made her the first female country singer to cross over into pop music. In 1960 she joined the Grand Ole Opry. After recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash, she returned in 1962 with hits such as “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.” She was killed in an airplane crash.

Learn more about Cline, Patsy with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Virginia Patterson Hensley

(born Sept. 8, 1932, Winchester, Va., U.S.—died March 5, 1963, near Camden, Tenn.) U.S. singer. Cline sang with country music groups as a teenager. She began recording in the mid-1950s and won first place on Arthur Godfrey's television show with “Walking After Midnight” (1957), a hit that made her the first female country singer to cross over into pop music. In 1960 she joined the Grand Ole Opry. After recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash, she returned in 1962 with hits such as “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.” She was killed in an airplane crash.

Learn more about Cline, Patsy with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Patsy is a given name often used as a diminutive of the feminine name Patricia or sometimes the masculine name Patrick, or occasionally other names containing the syllable "Pat" or "Pet" (such as Cleopatra, Patience, or Patrice).

Historical usage

In older usage Patsy was also a nickname for Martha or Matilda, following a common nicknaming pattern of changing an M to a P (such as in Margaret → Meg/Meggy → Peg/Peggy; and Molly → Polly) and adding a feminine suffix.

While usually a feminine diminutive name, from the 18th Century Patsy also came to be used as a nickname for men and boys called Patrick.

It is thought that the popularity of the name may have waned due to the dictionary meanings of the word "patsy" being "dupe" or "scapegoat".

Notable people with the given name

Fictional

References

External links

With regard to the use of the term, "patsy" to mean "scapegoat," the usage comes from the early 20th Century vaudevillian, Billy B. Van, whose character, Patsy Bolivar, was more often than not an innocent victim of unscrupulous or nefarious characters.

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