The Fed should hold pat

Who is Pat and why is she/he being held?  This malaphor was found on the NY Times website:

“While the Fed may be loath to show a pull back from its proposed rates, a move upwards followed by a downward revision a year from now if we move toward recession would be worse. We are well under the targeted inflation benchmark, the world economies are reeling. I can see no reason to move up rates. The Fed should hold pat and signal a revisiting next year.” (emphasis added)

This is a congruent conflation of “hold firm” and “stand pat”, both meaning to stick to one’s position or opinion.  “Hold fast” (stay the course) certainly is in play here as well, as it fits the context.  “Stand” and “hold” are words that could be confused as they mean similar things in card playing – deciding not to receive any additional cards.  A “pat hand” is a dealt poker hand that does not need improvement.  Of course, it might be the other Pat’s cousin.

A big shout out to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and passing it on!