pat on the back


pat on the back

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to receive or express praise for a job well done
  • an expression of appreciation or compliment
  • to congratulate
  • to grant approval
  • to show your appreciation
  • to show of approval
  • sign of approbation
  • well done
  • praise, congratulations or kudos for a job well done

Often used in an ironic way to admonish someone for doing something that shouldn’t have been done.

Example Sentences

  1. He received a pat on the back from his boss from the new project that he landed.
  2. My dad’s idea of a pat on the back was always to let us eat dessert before our meal.
  3. You single-handedly organized the fundraiser, Julie. It has been a massive success and you can give yourself a pat on the back.
  4. Do you think that you deserve a pat on the back for telling the whole company that I was the one who broke the printer?
  5. Father gave son a big pat on the back and a big congratulation after the win.
  6. The coach was surprised by unexpected victory and gave a pat on the back of the team.
  7. For all that you did, you deserve more than just a pat on the back.
  8. Don’t pat yourself on the back so early; you have to complete several similar works yet.
  9. Give yourselves a pat on the back for what you did.
  10. You guys deserve a pat on the back for the services you provide, day and night.


The phrase dates back to the 1800s. It is most possibly derived from the literal pat on the back that is given to a person who has completed a job satisfactorily.
The “pat on the back” does not refer to a physical touch anymore. It is usually accompanied by a sort of reward. Often verbal but sometimes more finite, like a bonus or reward.

The phrase is often used in an ironic way. This means that it is often used by someone who was negatively affected by someone else’s actions.

You can also say “you can give yourself a pat on the back.” This phrase can also be used in a positive or negative way, depending on the context.

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