slang (orig. U.S., esp. among African-Americans).

a. Of a person, esp. a woman: sexy, attractive. b. Esp. of music: excellent, admirable; fashionable, ‘cool’. Particularly associated with the hip-hop subculture.

  1963 Time 2 Aug. 14 Negro argot... Mellow, phat, stone, boss. General adjectives of approval. 1974 H. L. FOSTER Ribbin' ii. 52 This teacher, however, was a ‘phat tip’..[note] My informants tell me that the letters in ‘phat’ stand for ‘pussy’, ‘hips’, ‘ass’, and ‘tits’ or a ‘pretty hole at all time’. I am sure that there are also some others. 1992 Face Dec. 68 They're just really distinctive a London crew with a really phat funk sound. 1995 Guardian 8 May II. 8/4 The Criminal Justice Act put the rave under House arrest. But it's out and it's phat in Oxfordshire. 1998 Newsday (Electronic ed.) 17 Mar., Phat? With a fearless, exciting, aggressive playing style, El-Amin fits the recent youth-culture term that suggests, loosely translated: cool. 2000 Herald (Glasgow) (Electronic ed.) 18 Nov., Every Giants player emerges from the dug-out to his own personal anthem. For coach Dusty Baker there's James Brown and Dr Dre. Cool or what?.. For..Barry Bonds it's Song 2 by Blur. Phat! (Pretty Hot and Tempting.)

NEW EDITION: draft entry June 2001 OED



Phat is another word that frequently is given an acronymic origin. The exact acronym varies with the telling, Pretty Hot And Tempting, Pretty Hips And Thighs, and Pussy Hips Ass Tits have all been suggested. There is no evidence supporting any acronymic origin.

Rather, phat is most likely simply a slang respelling of fat. Such respellings are common in slang. And fat has a long history of meaning rich, abundant, or desirable. Fat has been used this way in English since the early 17th century, and in other languages for far longer. The specific sexual connotation of phat is likely just a specialization of the general meaning. Some suggest it may be a clipping of emphatic. Again, there is no evidence for this last, but at least it's more plausible than any of the acronymic origins.

Phat is also older than you might think. It has been a staple of African American slang since at least 1963.

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