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The Phrase Freak: Full Patch

It’s not often that news from staid, parochial, London (Ontario) gets front-page status, though I think most people here would prefer we didn’t get it. No doubt you’ve heard about the massacre on Stafford Line, just a few miles from London. If you’ve been listening to the broadcast reports, you’ll also have picked up today’s freaky phrase: full patch (sometimes full patched).

To date, I’ve yet to hear a single broadcast report explain what “full patch” membership in any motorcycle gang means. Does this describe the state of their Levis? Is some kind of ocular disfigurement ritual like Odin worshipers, resulting in the wearing of eye patches? Hmmm?

Yet, they keep saying it, as though I’m supposed to know. Perhaps the reporters just think it sounds cool.

I sometimes think that’s how these phrases get going: “Hey, IED — that sounds much cooler than “bomb”, let’s use that.” In this case, it’s probably: “we can’t just say member. Homicidal member? No, that could get us sued. The police are saying they’re full-patch members. That sounds important. And neat-o. Let’s use that.”

Kudos to the London Free Press for explaining the jargon in yesterday’s edition:

FULL-PATCHED: A member who has earned all the privileges and dangers of being a full-fledged outlaw biker; one can turn a patch in, but it’s frowned upon and often the only way out is by death; gets to wear the chapter name under the gang’s name.

Freak level on this phrase: 4 gobsmacks out of 10.


  1. Yes, but I don’t think you’ll like what it qualifies you for in the Bandidos. 🙂 m.

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