a pat on the back

pat on the back

Praise given to a person for an achievement or a job well done. Treating his daughter to ice cream was Joe's way of giving her a pat on the back after she won first place in the science fair. The only reason she stays late at work is to receive a pat on the back from her boss.
See also: back, on, pat

a pat on the back

COMMON If you give someone a pat on the back, you praise them for something they have done. Any shop that gives such a rapid response to a customer's complaint deserves a pat on the back. The industry can give itself a little pat on the back for the positive moves it has made to help towards its own recovery. Note: You can also say that one person pats another on the back, or that someone pats themselves on the back. I thought the editor would pat me on the back and say, `Well done!' Instead he fired me. Today is a good day to pat yourself on the back for bravery and effort.
See also: back, on, pat
References in periodicals archive ?
Some kids got money, some got presents, a favorite dinner, or a hug and a pat on the back.